“I could have been killed”: Black homeowner speaks out on Permit Karen

New Jersey man says that the actions of a woman who demanded to see his family’s permit for their new patio could have resulted in his death at the hands of police.


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Fareed Hayat
Fareed Nassor Hayat
(New York University)

It has been quite a week. First, the gun toting homeowners from St. Louis. Then, the infinitely more annoying Permit Karen.

The day after Permit Karen, aka Susan G. Schulz, became the latest Internet sensation, the man she harassed has been speaking out.

Fareed Nassor Hayat, of Montclair, said that Schulz approached his property three times in just thirty minutes demanding to see the relevant paperwork for his family’s newly installed stone patio.

The yard in Hayat’s home on Norman Road is right next to Schulz’s property, which is on the town’s Marion Road. However, it is not clear yet what the woman’s objection was to the new patio.

In any event, Hayat maintains that he checked with local officials and his contractor as to whether he needed a permit for the patio and he was told he did not need one.

After he informed the increasingly hysterical Schulz of this fact she then alleged that Hayat had assaulted her. This claim was contradicted by a number of other neighbors, most of whom were white.

At that point, Schulz called the police and Hayat believes that her decision to do so could very well have resulted in his being killed.

Susan G. Schulz
Susan G. Schulz

“If the police had come here and overreacted I could have been dead,” Hayat told local station ABC 7.

At that point, Hayat’s wife Norrinda, started filming the heated exchange with Schulz.

“I filmed her because she started to play race tricks that endangered both my husband and my children,” Norrinda Hayat said. “It’s just grown increasingly intense, this desire to interrogate, deputize yourself to make sure I’m following the rules.”

She says it’s been going on for two years, from the color of their house to the lights in their backyard, the neighbor always has questions and they give her answers.

But this time they felt enough was enough.

It has happened again. White entitlement and black hate embodied in Susan who lives on Marion Road and works at the EPA, called the police to lodge a false report of assault against me when told to leave our property. Susan, aka "Permit Karen,” came onto our property three times within thirty minutes to demand to know if we had the proper permit to install a stone patio in our backyard, on the other side of the fence of her yard. When asked if a permit was required by law, she said she didn’t know, but insisted we answer her questions and submit to her demands, or she would call the police to force us to stop improving our home. (A permit is not required in Montclair for a stone patio this size. This fact was known to us through our own independent research, our contractor and later verified when building and safety arrived at our home to investigate her complaint.) When challenged about her flawed legal conclusions, assumption of right, her lack of agency over our home and our eventual demand that she leave our property immediately, Susan decided to call the police and make a false report of assault. She invoked centuries of brutality in her call to the police and sought to put her black neighbors back in their place. She believed that we were required to answer her questions and smile while doing so. But to her surprise, her efforts were met by two proudly black human beings, parents, lawyers, law professors, activist, community members, neighbors, citizens and fighters, who refused to submit. Her efforts were also met by a collection of largely white neighbors, who refused to simply go along with her racist efforts or not stand up against her attempt to invoke the racist power of the state through police. Their efforts were antiracist ideology at work. Each neighbor declared to her and the police that she summoned, that she was a lie and no such assault occurred. She left our home, rejected and unfulfilled, yet still empowered to do future harm. To her Black Lives Don’t Matter when up against her presumed inalienable rights of whiteness. She did not see the flaw in her ways or apologize for her behavior. Her type, the racist, must be rejected and ostracized like she was today by Norrinda and I, but equally important, by our white neighbors here in Montclair and our white and non-white allies worldwide.

Posted by Fareed Nassor Hayat on Monday, June 29, 2020

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