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Source: Kenzie Smith

This man was reported to police by "BBQ Betty" for barbecuing at a park. Now, he's running for office.


WASHINGTON (Circa) -- Kenzie Smith was barbecuing at a park in Oakland, Calif. when a woman called police on Smith. Smith's alleged crime was that he had a charcoal grill at the park which the woman said was illegal.

A video, recorded by Smith's wife, showed all the events that transpired and garnered millions of views and reactions. Some viewers believed Smith was being harassed by the woman, known on social media as #BBQBetty, for "barbecuing while black."

"She kept saying we were going to jail. She said that she was going to file a complaint for us cooking BBQ in the park. She said she knows her rights, that the rights state if she tells the police if she has a problem with us then we are going to go to jail," Smith's wife Michelle told The Panther Times in an interview.

Because of the incident, Smith was nominated to the Park and Recreation Advisory Committee and is set to run for the Oakland City Council. Mother Jones describes the race as an uphill battle as he faces incumbent Abel Guillen and a housing activist in the area - Nikki Bas Fortunato. Furthermore, the publication says both candidates started their campaign last year and have raised tens of thousands of dollars to fund their campaign.

“Win, lose, or draw, it doesn’t really matter. That’s not what it’s about,” Smith told Mother Jones. “What it’s about is trying to get these young voters to vote, to actually have their voice heard, and also to continue to inspire the younger generation to say, ‘If he can do it, then I can do it, too.”

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