After a call was made to law enforcement by a white New Jersey official, Bobbi Wilson had her life put in danger.
The 9-year-old was simply putting to use the information she had learned from TikTok about a recipe to kill lanternflies.
The bugs were infesting her neighborhood’s trees.
“My sister was doing some research on them after seeing them in our local park and hearing about them in school. While researching them, she realized there’s a non-toxic solution you can make at home that can effectively kill the spotted lantern bug. She proceeded to make a mixture, which was made up of water, apple cider vinegar, and a little Dawn dish soap. She then discovered multiple infested trees on our street and decided to give the solution a try by spraying them on the trees and the actual club. She was now only doing something amazing for our environment. She was doing something that made her feel like a hero,” Hayden Wilson, sister of Bobbi, said during a Caldwell Borough Council meeting held on Nov.1.
A NJ resident called police on a 9-year-old Black girl using a homemade spotted lanternfly repellant to try and stop the invasive species from harming trees in her neighborhood.
The girl’s mother and sister described the ‘traumatic’ experience at a local council meeting. pic.twitter.com/RLK1jJmcmP
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 12, 2022
The concoction was so successful, Wilson spent 30 to 45 minutes each day killing the lanternflies, according to New Jersey Hills.
“There’s a little Black woman, walking, spraying stuff on the sidewalks and trees on Elizabeth and Florence. I don’t know what the hell she’s doing, scares me though,” Lawshe told police on a 911 call, according to People.
Lawshe also added she was a “real small woman.”
Monique Joseph, Wilson’s mother, was distraught when she learned of Lawshe’s actions toward her daughter.
“Our neighbor called the police and reported ‘There’s a little Black woman walking, spraying stuff on the sidewalks and trees. I don’t know what the hell she’s doing. It scares me though,’ and included that she was wearing a hoodie. It is sickening and scaring to hear my neighbor used triggering words that had resulted in the death of too many Black and brown children and adults at the hand of the police,” Joseph explained at the Caldwell Borough Council meeting.
The town council affirmed the family they have “the governing body’s full support.”
The Daily Beast reports Caldwell mayor John Kelley said, “After reflecting on the story and learning more from the police report, it is clear that a line was crossed. My heart goes out to Monique and her two girls.”
Joseph did request to speak with Lawshe. She has not received a response. However, his attorney, Greg Mascera, has spoken up to diffuse claims Lawshe’s action exemplified racial profiling.
“All the cop did was drive by, but the mother’s assertion that [her daughter is now] afraid of cops is absurd,” Mascera said, according to BuzzFeed.
“My 9-year-old daughter was afraid to go outside the next day,” Johnson said, according to BuzzFeed. “It is unfortunate that she understands exactly what could have happened to her if we lived somewhere else in this country.”