Woman investigated for hate crime after berating Black Amazon delivery driver

·3 min read
An Amazon delivery driver was subjected to racial abuse after being accused of speeding by a couple in Berkeley, California.  (KRON4)
An Amazon delivery driver was subjected to racial abuse after being accused of speeding by a couple in Berkeley, California. (KRON4)

A white California woman is being investigated for a hate crime after she called the police on a Black Amazon delivery driver and shouted racial slurs at him as he stopped to deliver packages. 

The incident took place on 18 April in Berkeley near San Francisco. Julie Walrand, 35, was captured on cellphone footage taken by a neighbour in which she can be seen confronting the driver along with her boyfriend, who has not been identified. 

Ms Walrand and her boyfriend allegedly called 911 claiming that delivery driver Kendall McIntosh was speeding. When Mr McIntosh stopped to deliver packages, Ms Walrand pulled up next to him in her car and reportedly started yelling racial slurs at him. 

Mr McIntosh told KRON4 that he felt scared and unsafe. The local TV station reported that Ms Walrand at one point jumped into Mr McIntosh's delivery vehicle and tried to take control of the van. The delivery driver said he’s thankful neighbours intervened and recorded the interaction since this has happened to him before. 

Berkley Police Department
Berkley Police Department

He told KRON4: “Instantly just started cursing me out like, first sentence I’m getting cursed at. Very derogatory language, you know I was getting constant F-bombs thrown at me. I was getting just racially profiled from the jump.”

Mr McIntosh told KTVU that the couple followed him as he was driving to Delaware Street in Berkeley to help another driver after finishing his own shift. As Ms Walrand pulled up next to him, Mr McIntosh said she yelled: “Who the f**k do you think you are? Who do you think you are driving down my street like this?”

“That’s when the harassing started happening. I was just trying to do my job and she wouldn’t allow me to, she closed both double doors in the van I was trying to leave out of,” Mr McIntosh told KRON4. He said the boyfriend placed himself behind the truck, stopping Mr McIntosh from leaving. 

He added: “His girlfriend also jumped inside my van as I was trying to back up and grabbing onto the steering wheel. She did that two times in a row.”

The racial slurs, including the N-word, continued coming from Ms Warland during the incident, according to the delivery driver.

“What constantly was running through my mind was you know it could be me in handcuffs instead of her so no matter what the situation is, just protect yourself. If you feel like you have to videotape it or anything, definitely do that because I felt like if there wasn’t a video... she probably could’ve gotten away with saying this,” Mr McIntosh said.

He added to KTUV that without the neighbours acting as witnesses “it becomes a he-said-she-said battle”.

Watch: Thief dressed as Amazon driver steals packages in Fishtown 

This is the second hate crime arrest in Berkeley this month. Berkeley police eventually got to the scene and arrested Ms Warland for a range of crimes, including false imprisonment, battery, using offensive language and threatening a person based on their appearance, KRON4 reported. 

Mr McIntosh told KTVU: “I initially thought it was just somebody having a bad day. I thought me ignoring her, she goes her way, I go my way.”

“I was scared, I didn't know how it was going to run out so I thought the best thing to do was leave the situation,” he said. He returned when he learned that police had arrived at the scene. 

Berkeley council member Ben Bartlett told the TV station that the “silver lining” was “that hate doesn't get a chance to grow in our community”. 

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said Ms Walrand was released the day after her arrest and that a charging decision has not yet been made. 

In a statement, the Berkeley Police Department said it “recognizes and places a high priority on the rights of all individuals guaranteed under state and federal law”.

“The commission of a hate crime is a serious offence, which will not be tolerated in the City of Berkeley,” the department said.