The Rialto Police Department received notice of legal action by three Airbnb customers who claim they were detained by the officers when they were checking out of the facility, following a racially motivated caller tipping the police off about a burglary in progress.

The lawsuit was filed following an incident that took place on April 30 outside an Airbnb rental in California. Four people were checking out and loading their luggage on to a car when they were suddenly surrounded by seven police cars and a law enforcement helicopter, which began tracking them. Three of the four people surrounded by the police at the time were African-American women.

Kelly Fyffe-Marshall, one of the four people, posted her account of the event on Facebook.

“The officers came out of their cars demanding us to put our hands in the air… They locked down the neighborhood and had us standing in the street. Why? A neighbor across the street saw 3 black people packing luggage into their car and assumed we were stealing from the house. She then called the police,” she wrote in a post, along with pictures taken at the scene.

The neighbor had apparently called the police because the four people failed to wave back to her when she waved at them.

Fyffe-Marshall further explained that while they initially thought the whole thing was a prank, 20 minutes into the incident, they understood the seriousness of it. The police sergeant, who had never heard of what Airbnb was, arrived at the scene and detained them all for 45 minutes despite the fact that they had handed over their booking receipts and the phone number of their landlord.

“We have been dealing with different emotions and you want to laugh about this but it’s not funny. The trauma is real. I've been angry, frustrated and sad. I was later detained at the airport. This is insanity,” Fyffe-Marshall wrote.

The Rialto police, however, provided a different version of the events. According to them, the interaction lasted about 22 minutes, during which, all the officers behaved politely and did not act out of ordinary.

"We didn't detain anybody, we didn't put anyone in handcuffs, we didn't point any weapons at anybody," Rialto police Lt. Dean Hardin said. "We actually allowed them pretty free movement about the scene, so it's a pretty mild response to a situation."

He also added that the fact that a helicopter trailing the four Airbnb customers was also within the standard protocols of law enforcement when there is a burglary in progress, which was the nature of complaint against them.

Paul Butler, Georgetown University law professor and former prosecutor, who wrote the book "Chokehold: Policing Black Men," said regardless of how mundane their activities might be, African-Americans bear the brunt of proving their innocence.

"The standard for an extreme law enforcement response to black people is very low," he said, Miami Herald reported. "All you have to do is be waiting in a Starbucks or playing golf in Pennsylvania, or now, moving your luggage out of an Airbnb rental. That's literally all you have to do."

Airbnb issued the following statement to the New York Post after news of the lawsuit went public.

“Based on what we’ve learned and consistent with the various news reports, this incident appears to be an issue involving a neighbor, but the fact that this neighbor was not a member of the Airbnb community doesn’t change the fact that what happened to our guests is unconscionable and a reminder of how far we still have to go as a society.

We are also reaching out to our partners at the NAACP, National Action Network, Color Of Change, and others to discuss this matter and ensure we are doing all we can to protect our community when they travel. While we do fundamentally believe in the power of travel to break down historic barriers and have faith in our fellow humans, we will continue to do all we can to make sure our Guests feel like they belong when they travel to different communities around the world.”