STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) — It happened again.

A woman in the Bay Area is getting lambasted on social media after video of her allegedly calling the police on an 8-year-old black girl for selling water without a permit went viral.

In a video posted to Twitter by the girl’s older cousin who goes by @_ethiopiangold, the woman recording confronts a woman who is on the phone, supposedly calling the cops to report the girl selling water on the sidewalk.

“This woman don’t wanna let a little girl sell some water,” the woman says. The woman on the phone is then seen ducking behind a pillar.

“She calling police on a 8-year-old little girl. You can hide all you want. The world gon’ see you, boo,” the woman who has identified herself as the girl’s mother tells her as she gets up.

The woman, who the user subsequently dubbed “Permit Patty,” responds, “Yeah, um, illegally selling water without a permit, yeah.”

“On my property,” the mother replies.

The 15-second video ends with the woman saying, “It’s not your property.”

As of Saturday evening, the video, which was recorded the previous day, had been viewed over 2.5 million times and retweeted nearly 39,000 times.

The video was originally posted by the girl’s mother on Instagram.

The SF Examiner reports the incident happened in the area around AT&T Park in San Francisco.

The Huffington Post spoke the woman since identified as Alison Ettel, who told the outlet there was “no racial component” to the complaint, and that she was only pretending to call the police. She said the incident began because the woman was “screaming” about what they were selling.

“I have no problem with enterprising young women. I want to support that little girl. It was all the mother and just about being quiet,” Ettel told HuffPo.

Not surprisingly, #PermitPatty went viral, with the hashtag becoming the number 2 trending topic in the United States by Saturday evening.

As many have pointed out, this is about more than the absurdity of the woman’s claim.

Journalists and media figures, such as The Intercept’s Shaun King, are calling this incident yet one more example of white people putting at risk the lives of young black people by calling the police on the for trivial reasons:

“They want police to kill us. The girl was causing no harm. They know what happens when they call the police. This is evil.”


As evidence of the disturbing trend, people have pointed to the case of the woman dubbed “Barbecue Becky” who called police to report two black men for having a charcoal grill at an Oakland park.

The woman later identified as a chemical engineer who received her PhD from Stanford University ended up crying after police told her the supposed “crime” was not very important. The memes abound.

Shortly after the incident in Oakland’s Lake Merritt neighborhood, thousands came out to the “BBQing While Black” protest turned party.

Across the Bay, Ettel reportedly runs TreatWell. The San Francisco company is a maker and seller of “cannabis-based tinctures in different ratios for humans and pets,” The LA Times reported last year.

The company’s website is currently down.

Only time will tell if she will reach BBQ Becky’s status as a buzzkill pariah, but Permit Patty seems to be well on her way.


Comments (16)
  1. I don’t care if you are bright orange with pink polka dots. charcoal fire on public grounds = fire. You don’t do it. Any responsible adult would call and report that. First I would explain why they can’t do that, ask them to stop then if they didn’t alert authorities to the site to 1. notify them of the potential hazard and 2. that someone is breaking a safety law in the middle of the heat of summer and either does not believe it is a law or will not comply. That is flat out dangerous and has nothing to do with color. Making correct safety practices race issues is just wrong. Also folks your kids should not be selling things without permits. It not only protects customers but parents as well. Cross contamination. Dirty hands at or around the bottle tops could make dozens of people sick and as a minor selling anything the parents are liable for the financial responsibility of all those people getting sick. On both ends of the spectrum. Just don’t do it. Doesn’t take much to get a permit and read what needs to be done to comply with city/state health laws. Protect yourself, protect your customers. Behind every cute little kid selling anything is an adult that should be making sure all the rules and regulations are being followed. Age of the seller is not a factor here.

Leave a Reply