The woman paces back and forth on a sidewalk outside a San Francisco apartment building in an online video posted Saturday.
“This woman don't want to let a little girl sell some water; she be calling police on an 8-year-old little girl," the woman filming says as the other woman, talking on her cell phone, ducks behind a stoop.
“You can hide all you want; the whole world gon' see ya, boo,” the woman filming the video says as she rounds the corner to confront the other woman, who stands up.
“Yeah, and, um, illegally selling water without a permit?” the woman says into her phone.
“On my property,” replies the woman filming the video.
“It’s not your property,” says the woman on her cell phone before the video cuts off.
The Instagram post was viewed more than 900,000 times by Sunday morning, while the Twitter post was retweeted 65,000 times. Both were posted by a woman who identified herself as the girl's cousin.
Alison Ettel, the woman seen on her phone in the video, told The San Francisco Chronicle that the 8-year-old girl and her mother had been on the sidewalk shouting at passers-by as they sold bottled water from a cooler for several hours while she tried to work from home on her cannabis pet product company.
"It was two o' clock in the afternoon and it was constant screaming and yelling," Ettel told the publication. "I was completely stressed out at work and that's not an excuse."
Ettel told the Chronicle that she only pretended to call police after failed appeals to building security and a confrontation with the girl’s mother.
But KTVU later obtained a recording of the 911 call in which Ettel tells a dispatcher, “I have someone who does not have a vendor permit that’s selling water across from the ballpark.” The dispatcher tells Ettel to hold while he transfers her to police, but the call cuts off 17 seconds later.
The original video prompted an instant backlash online, where many posters commented on a white woman appearing to call police on a young African American girl.
Ettel denied race had anything to do with the incident, reported The Huffington Post. “I have no problem with enterprising young women," she told the publication. "I want to support that little girl. It was all the mother and just about being quiet.”
Ettel also told The Huffington Post that she feels "discriminated against" by the online backlash over the video. She later resigned as CEO of Treatwell Health, which sells cannabis products for humans and pets, reported The Mercury News.
The incident follows one in May at Lake Merritt in which a woman — dubbed “BBQ Becky” — called police to report an African American family barbecuing at the park, reported KRON. The incident, in which the woman claimed the family was breaking park rules about charcoal barbecues, sparked a national debate about “barbecuing while black.”
In early June, a man dubbed “Jogger Joe” was caught on video destroying a black homeless man’s camp beside Lake Merritt in Oakland. Henry Sintay, 30, was later arrested on suspicion of stealing the phone of a bystander filming him at the lake the next day.