EL DORADO HILLS (CBS13) — A motivational trip to look at estate homes in El Dorado Hills and other upscale neighborhoods quickly turned troubling for Malachi Turner and his team of around 20 entrepreneurs on June 1.
“We are enjoying our time out there and my people are visualizing where it is they can go,” said group organizer, Malachi J. Turner.
Turner is the founder of Kai Collective. He created a team with the idea to inspire entrepreneurs and teach them how to invest. He organized the trip to El Dorado Hills, Granite Bay and Folsom to encourage his team to dream big, but their trip was interrupted when Turner said concerned neighbors started to call the police and spread rumors on social media calling the group protesters.
“That is completely unwarranted. Why in the world that you would think we are rioters and looters? We don’t have signs, we are not protesting, we are very friendly. For anyone to make the assumption, obviously that was made by a certain bias,” Turner said.
Turner took a picture of the post that claimed “We are armed. They are going to attack houses with American Flag(s).” Another post claimed the rumors of protest were true,”20+ car loads of rioters are hitting the neighborhoods and businesses NOW!!!!.” The same quote goes on to say, “Where are all my second amendment peeps at? We may need to call on you today.”
Swipe through the social media posts below:
“To know that we were doing something so good and could’ve been put in harm’s way is very scary and very disappointing and I think it solidifies that there needs to be change in America,” Turner said.
The same day the group visited neighborhoods in Folsom and Granite Bay where neighbors there called police, who responded to both areas. Turner believes the group members, who are predominantly black, were racially profiled.
“It’s very scary because if you think about that situation it could’ve gone so many different ways,” he explained. “Don’t have a bias and an idea that is based upon race. Don’t think that we are menacing or don’t think all black people are coming to cause you harm.”
Folsom Police confirmed they received a call from a concerned neighbor who felt the group was “unusual”. Officers drove by the area and spoke to the group. A Folsom officer took a picture with the group, while Granite Bay offered them water after asking them questions, according to Turner.
In El Dorado Hills, the man who took a picture of the group that is now circulating around social media tells CBS13 it was only supposed to be shared by close friends. He did not want to be identified, but explained neighbors were concerned about the group because they were warned about a potential protest the same day.
“With that as a backdrop that was extremely odd and we had to assume they were connected,” he explained. “These were not threatening people but their presence in that same exact time slot made us believe that they were probably part of some greater plan to look at neighborhoods in the area.”
He explained that current protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death have neighbors on a heightened alert, adding that businesses in the area had boarded up their stores in preparation for potential looting. The neighbor explained while he does not agree with some of the social media posts, he does not think the group was racially profiled.
“It got to the internet and went from there to all kinds of interpretations and reactions from different people,” he explained. “In my opinion, the timing is what caused all of this. If they would have been here a week before or a week after you wouldn’t be talking to me.”
Turner said the timing of events is also on his mind with a nationwide focus on relationships with police and the black community.
“I’m not saying no one should have been confused, I’m not saying maybe not to ask a question, that is completely fine. But the thing is your ignorance, your misconception is going to get someone killed. Obviously, nothing bad happened that day, but what if something did happen,” Turner said.
Neighbors in the area said they wish the group would have alerted the area that they were planning to visit as a courtesy.