Another month, another phone-wielding woman from Oakland gone viral.
In May, the world was introduced to “BBQ Becky,” an Oakland woman who called the police on two black men grilling without a permit. Now, we’ve found her successor in “Permit Patty.”
A video circulated online on Saturday showing an angry woman on the phone, allegedly with the police, because an 8-year-old girl was selling water on a sidewalk.
The internet quickly dubbed the woman, whose real name is apparently Alison Ettel, “Permit Patty” — and since the video was uploaded, a lot more has happened. Here’s everything you need to know about the events that transpired.
Twitter user @_ethiopiangold and Instagram user @ladyesowavy shared the original video of Ettel appearing to call the police on the 8-year-old girl, a relative of both.
“This woman don’t want a little girl selling sell some water. She’s calling the police on an 8-year-old girl,” the child’s mother is heard saying. “You can hide all you want but the whole world is going to see you boo.”
The video shows Ettel explaining that the girl was “illegally selling water without a permit,” all while assuming a grimace reminiscent of the one worn by Jennifer Schulte, or BBQ Becky, which went viral. Naturally, immediate comparisons (and memes) sprung up.
Just like what happened with Schulte, the victim of Ettel’s alleged harassment is black, which sparked outcry from folks who came across the video online. Celebrities also weighed in, calling out Ettel for being racist and having the gall to call law enforcement on a child.
IIIIIIIII. CANNOT. Ma’am? MA’AM?!?! 🙄 This woman asks to speak to somebody’s manager on the daily. She permanently wears folks OUT https://t.co/2VXtHDBW5N
Toxic-white-people feel like it is LITERALLY against the law for Black and Brown folks to disobey their request. They immediately jump into citizens arrest mode, playing the role of deputy doin’ too much, using their whiteness and its proximity to police protection as a weapon. pic.twitter.com/JiJ94NX1MG
Meanwhile, the internet sleuths of Twitter dug into Ettel’s past and discovered that her business, a company called TreatWell that creates cannabis products for humans and animals alike, despite the “questionable legality” of the latter, according to SF Gate. In other words: Permit Patty might not even have a permit for some of the work she does herself.
Ettel was also set to be one of the subjects of a documentary called Lady Buds, a film about women in the cannabis industry. Upon seeing the viral footage of the phone call, however, the director of the film has announced that Ettel will be no longer involved with the project and “all content that remotely promotes her or her business” will be removed.
In an interview with HuffPost that happened after the video went viral, Ettel claims it was the noise from the child as she sold that pushed her to call the police.
“They were screaming about what they were selling,” she told HuffPost. “It was literally nonstop. It was every two seconds, ‘Come and buy my water.’ It was continuous and it wasn’t a soft voice, it was screaming.”
According to the same interview though, Ettel claimed to have only pretended to call the police, which as NPR’s Linda Holmes points out, means Ettel might have known all along that the actions of the 8 year-old were not, in fact, illegal.
What it means is that she knew the noise wasn’t illegal. She wasn’t even pretending they were violating a noise ordinance. Assuming it’s all true, the thing about the noise was just that she didn’t like it. *She just didn’t like it.*
As we’ve seen time and time again, weaponizing the police against people of color for something that one personally does not like often results in death.
In the same conversation with HuffPost, Etell also added that she feels “discriminated against” after the incident.
“I completely regret that I handled that so poorly. It was completely stress-related, and I should have never confronted her. That was a mistake, a complete mistake,” she continued. “Please don’t make me sound horrible.”
As for the young girl, it turns out the entire reason she was selling water bottles was to save up money to go to Disneyland, according to her cousin on Twitter. Folks who saw the video ended up purchasing the tickets for her and family members, while others pledged that they would buy water bottles from her to then donate to homeless shelters in their communities.