Act 'like a white person': Wind-blown trampoline in neighbor's yard sparks ugly feud

The wind-blown trampoline started a "racially driven" feud between neighbors in Thornton, Colorado.
The wind-blown trampoline started a "racially driven" feud between neighbors in Thornton, Colorado. Courtesy photo

Nicole Emanuel and her husband, Russell Cordova, always had an idea that their neighbors "carried some racially driven hate in their hearts," and then heavy winds blew their children's trampoline over to the next yard.

When they went to ask for the trampoline back after a windstorm, they would end up leaving without it.

“Look, if he had acted like a white person he could have gotten it back… it’s that simple,” the neighbor, who remained anonymous, told CBS4 in Denver. They live in Thornton, Colorado, about 12 miles north of Denver.

The wind-blown trampoline damaged the neighbor's flagpole, CBS4 reported, and now the neighbor wants $1,400 before returning the trampoline.

Emanuel told McClatchy that she and her husband have no plans to turn over the $1,400.

"We didn't agree we owed them money because everyone had some damage done by that wind storm," she told McClatchy. "And we can't just give people money because they needed a person to blame for an act of God.

"And I'm not sure what 'acting like a white person' looks like but we were very civil and pleasant in simply asking if we could have our bent up trampoline back so we could try to fix it for our 4 kids because we can't afford to buy a new one," she continued.

Cordova told CBS4 that the neighbors yelled at his wife when they asked for the trampoline.

“I just don’t want there to be any more confrontation, that’s all," he told the TV station. "This is a simple matter, there should not have been confrontation from the get go… thought it could be easily resolved, but apparently that’s not the case."

While the couple's trampoline was blown away on April 17, the neighborly feud was first reported on Wednesday — and the trampoline is still resting on the other side of their fence.

“I think they’re going to let it sit there a little to taunt us and then take it down and throw it away or something," Cordova told CBS4.

Some good came out of it, though.

When a stranger saw the story on CBS4, she reached out to the couple and offered to buy the four kids a new trampoline. The stranger asked to remain anonymous, Emanuel said.

"I pray for (my neighbors) hearts! To carry that kind of hate around in your heart is living in such bondage," Emanuel posted on Facebook. "God blessed us through this though, a lady bought the kids a new one and is having it shipped to our home! God is good. And in the end I just pray this family finds Jesus!"

Time-lapse video of storm clouds sweeping into south-central Kansas Wednesday afternoon. Large hail and high winds were reported as storms raced across the state.