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First Person: The Personal Impact Of Being Racially Profiled By A Neighbor

Vista resident Ike Iloputaife is pictured with his Russian wolfhounds on June...

Credit: courtesy of Pam Kragen

Above: Vista resident Ike Iloputaife is pictured with his Russian wolfhounds on June 3, 2018.

First Person: The Personal Impact Of Being Racially Profiled By A Neighbor

GUEST:

Ike Iloputaife, Vista resident

Transcript

Ike Iloputaife has lived all over the world. Originally from Nigeria, he first came to the United States to attend college in Missouri nearly 40 years ago. After years of living in Provence in the south of France, he moved to Vista in 2017. Each morning he said he walks his Russian wolfhounds around his hilly Vista neighborhood.

Last month, a neighbor took a photograph of him and his dogs. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported the neighbor told investigators that he was a “stranger” on her street. The photograph was then used by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department identifying him as a “person of interest” in a burglary investigation.

"This is my first encounter with law enforcement so I don't know how they handle things in general. But they haven't handled it very well in this case," Iloputaife said.

Iloputaife said two different people from the sheriff’s department called him to apologize for including his photo in the burglary investigation after he shared his story publicly. He said he asked that the sheriff publicly apologize and clear his name in a press release. As of the time this story was published, the sheriff's department had not responded to questions about whether that had happened.

"I would like people to think before they act," Iloputaife said. "When you see a scene unfolding, look at the scene don't look at the person, don't look at the color of the person. That's the only way neighborhood watch is going to be effective otherwise we're going to just have this misidentification happen over and over and over again when we look at the color of somebody's skin instead of what actually they are doing."

As part of the Midday Edition series, First Person, Iloputaife talks about what it was like to be suspected of a crime because of the color of his skin.

Special Feature First Person

KPBS Midday Edition's First Person series tells the stories of average and not-so-average San Diegans in their own words. Their experiences, both universal and deeply personal, offer a unique lens into the news of the day.

Do you have a story to share? Email it to kpbsmiddayedition@kpbs.org

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