News Article Details

Report: East Bay mental-health CEO the latest in viral-video confrontation with racial overtones

Contra Costa Times - 8/10/2018

Aug. 10--In the latest of a series of videos capturing racially charged interactions between residents in the Bay Area and elsewhere, an Oakland woman threatened to call police on a family during a parking dispute outside her house before claiming to be an immigration attorney and questioning their citizenship status.

In a Facebook post to his account Wednesday, Jordann Cordova said family members were heading to a party, and had just parked their car on an East Oakland street outside the woman's house when she confronted them and began yelling.

"Keep in mind that as soon as I saw her come out of her home, I sincerely asked her why she wanted us to leave. Never did i disrespect her in any way," Cordova wrote in the post. "She wanted us to leave, [and] as we refused she approached our car and tried to open the doors."

At that point, Cordova said he decided to reach for a phone.

"That's when I began recording because we felt attacked and we know these situations have happened already to black and brown people because of how we look," Cordova wrote.

In the filmed exchange, the woman threatens to call the police and goes back to her house before returning to wield her own phone and ask the group "Where are you from?"

The group told her that didn't matter, but when a person in the group said he was a resident and had papers, the woman responded that it didn't matter before adding that "a resident isn't a citizen, you know." When the group continued to urge the woman to call police, she said "you know what they'll do? They'll take you!"

Cordova said "[t]his woman targeted us AND even questioned our status in this country. I ask people to share and find who this women who claims is immigrants attorney."

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the woman was identified Thursday as psychologist Lesleigh Franklin by Franklin's partner, Marisol Reyna. Both women are co-founders of the East Bay Family Institute, whose Web site says it is a "multiethnic, multilingual, multicultural agency specializing in working with children, youth, and adults, couples and families needing mental health services."

Speaking to the Chronicle, Reyna said Franklin had stepped down Thursday as the institute's chief executive officer.

Although mention of Franklin had been removed from the site Thursday, a biographical statement captured on a November 2017 version of the institute's site cached at the Internet Archive described her as "a licensed clinical psychologist who has been working with diverse populations in both school based and clinical settings for over 20 years," as well as "a clinical forensic psychologist who specializes in providing psychological assessments and expert witness testimony in civil, criminal and immigration court."

A call to the institute Thursday was not immediately returned.

Previous incidents have included late April's "#BBQBecky" incident, where a white woman called police on a group of friends barbecuing by Oakland'sLake Merritt; June's "#PermitPatty" incident, where a marijuana-edibles company CEO called police on a black girl for selling water near San Francisco'sAT&T Park without a permit, and "#JoggerJoe" incidents involving a white man who attacked a passer-by filming him after he threw a homeless man's belongings into Lake Merritt; and last month's "#HighwayHolly" road-rage incident along Interstate 80 in Emeryville.

Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.

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(c)2018 the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)

Visit the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.) at www.eastbaytimes.com

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