(NEW YORK POST) – A trip to the movies for a black family in Philadelphia took an unwanted turn when a manager called police over a dispute about the parents being allowed back into the theater to get their kids, video shows.
Ashley Jimenez posted a 5-minute video Saturday showing how police responded to the incident — at least six officers in all — after she and her husband complained of a consistent loud beeping noise near their seats during a showing of “Jurassic World” on Friday.
“After requesting politely to rectify the issue, the managerial staff failed to correct the issue and we had to ask for a refund,” Jimenez posted on Facebook. “The manager then said we had to leave immediately and said we couldn’t go back into the theater to get our children. When we said that is not an option and we were going to get our children, they called the police on us.”
The footage, which has been viewed more than 48,000 times, shows the “absurdity of the police being called in the first place,” according to Jimenez.
Jimenez’s husband, Ismael, said the incident at the Cinemark at 40th and Walnut streets fits a larger pattern of authorities being called on black people for relatively minor issues or disputes.
“A black person’s considered a threat immediately,” Ismael Jimenez told Philly.com. “So therefore, if they are defiant to you, instead of actually dealing with the issue, you are calling the police.”
Jimenez, a teacher at Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School, said a manager at the theater did ultimately provide a refund, but not before several officers responded — a large enough presence to have a physical impact on his 11-year-old son, who vomited in the bathroom because he was worried what might happen next during the encounter with police.
“He was worried that I was going to get hurt,” said Jimenez, who is also a member of the activist group Black Lives Matter Philly.
A man can be heard on the footage taking note of the officers at the theater, saying, “Does this really call for more than six f—king officers right now?”
At another point, a child is heard saying: “Yeah, what’s up with that? Racist, racist, racist … not cool.”
“Please pay attention to the situation that ensued simply because we asked someone to pay attention to beeping while we were trying to watch a movie,” Ashley Jimenez said at the end of the video. “And again, here are the babies that were brought to watch a movie. Say hi, babies! Only because it’s bedtime will we leave now.”
Police confirmed to Philly.com that officers responded to a “disturbance” at the theater but declined further comment. A message seeking comment from Cinemark’s corporate offices was not immediately returned Tuesday.
No arrests were made and one of the officers ultimately helped Jimenez and his wife get a refund for their concessions, Philly.com reports.
The incident occurred just two months after two 23-year-old black men were arrested on April 12 at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, where they were waiting for a business meeting at the Rittenhouse Square location. The men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, later reached a symbolic $1 settlement with the city in exchange for the creation of a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs.
In a statement, a spokesperson from Cinemark said the family was issued a refund, but denied that the theater refused to allow the family back inside to retrieve their kids. “At no time was the family restricted access to their children,” the spokesperson said.
“A Philadelphia police officer, who was working security at the theatre, was monitoring the situation and requested additional police presence,” the spokesperson added. “Eventually, one of the officers calmed the situation and the family left the theatre. We regret that the family did not have a good movie-going experience. We welcome them back at any time.”