CALDWELL, N.J. (PIX11) – A New Jersey mom is angry after she says a white neighbor called police on her young Black daughter while the girl was outside killing lanternflies.

The incident happened in a neighborhood in Caldwell back on Oct. 22.

“There is a little Black woman walking and spraying stuff on the sidewalks and trees on Elizabeth and Florence,” a neighbor can be heard telling police in a 911 call obtained by PIX11 News. “I don’t know what the hell she’s doing. Scares me though.”

The “little Black woman,” as the 911 caller described, was the 9-year-old daughter of Monique Joseph, who was on the sidewalk killing lantern flies with a homemade solution, a practice she had been doing all summer, the mother said.

Lanternflies are considered invasive pests, according to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

“She wants to feel like she was doing something and it was the one thing that she could feel powerful doing. She’s saving a tree. We love trees,” Joseph told PIX11 News.

But it’s not how the neighbor saw it, which led to a response by police. Joseph said she was there when the responding police officer approached her daughter.

“I was shaking inside and I was steadying myself because I did not want [the officer] to feel my anger and then I get myself in trouble,” Joseph said.

Joseph said the officer was able to resolve the situation quickly, but she remains angry that a call was made to police in the first place.

“[She] is not a woman. She is 9 years old. All I could think is what was his intention? What did he expect to happen on the other side of that? Was he OK as her neighbor with her being approached by the police,” Joseph said.

Joseph later recounted the incident in a speech made to town officials at a Borough of Caldwell City Council meeting on Nov 1.

“Racism, intentional or not, is still racism,” Joseph said in her speech. She received an apology from the mayor.

The neighbor accused of calling police did not want to speak to PIX11 News on camera, referring to his attorney instead.

The attorney told PIX11 News in a statement over the phone that the incident was a complete misunderstanding and is being blown out of proportion. The attorney also warned that a possible defamation lawsuit against several individuals, including the young girl’s mother, may now be on the horizon.