Alison Ettel, also known as “Permit Patty” called the police on an 8-year-old girl for selling water bottles without a permit. After the altercation went viral she has spoken out and since resigned from her place of work.
On June 23 a video was uploaded to Twitter with the caption: “So my little cousin was selling water and didn’t have a permit so this lady decided to call the cops on an 8 year old. #PermitPatty.” The child was selling water bottles to passerby in an attempt to help her family raise money for a trip to Disneyland. The 0: 15-second clip showed Ettel on the phone and then crouching down out of view when she sees she’s being filmed.
“This woman don’t wanna let a little girl sell some water. She calling the police on an 8-year-old little girl. You can hide all you want. The whole world gon’ see you, boo,” the girl’s mom said as she followed Ettel. Ettel then rose from her position and can be heard telling someone on the phone, “Yeah, um, illegally selling water without a permit,” to which the mother replies, “On my property.” Ettel then says “It’s not your property” before the video cuts off.
To date, the video, filmed by the girl’s mom, Erin Austin, was viewed over nine million times and thousands of comments were left accusing Ettel of racism. The daughter, Jordan Rogers, was commended in the comments for her entrepreneurial skills and people inviting her to sell water in their neighbourhoods.
The video went viral and soon Ettel, initially unknown, was identified. She has since spoken out about the clip saying that she received death threats and race had nothing to do with her decision to phone the police. She has spoken to several news outlets including Huffington Post and ABC news, in which she reiterated that race had nothing to do with it and she only called the police because she was trying to work and her neighbours were making noise. In a statement reported by ABC, Ettel said “I have no problem with enterprising young women. I want to support that little girl. It was all the mother and just about being quiet. I had been putting up with this for hours, and I just snapped.”
Though Ettel said she asked Rogers and Austin to keep it down, Austin said no such request was ever made. “She never asked us to be quiet. She came out and directly demanded to see a permit to sell water from an 8-year-old,” Austin told NBC.
In an interview with NBC News, Ettel said that the video has sparked death threats against her. “All kinds of threats. Horrible, horrible images and death threats,” she said through tears.
Ettel worked for a cannabis company named TreatWell Health and since the incident went viral, the company announced that she would be stepping down from her post. In a statement to the Guardian Cynthia Gonzales said, “This decision, while not an easy one, is in the best interest of their patients. It is Ms. Ettel’s belief that TreatWell, its employees, and patients should not have to suffer because of a situation that occurred in an escalated moment. And she regrets her part and is remorseful.” Gonzales added that she is helping Ettel with PR and crisis management.
Since the video made its rounds on social media, Rogers was offered four tickets to Disneyland by a Twitter user.
Ettel also said that she would like to apologize to Rogers and Austin for her behaviour, to which Austin said she wouldn’t accept. “I know in her interview she said it was stress related, but that’s not an excuse,” Austin told ABC. “People lose it, but you don’t lose it on children. There’s no excuse for what she did.”