When a black woman gets held at gunpoint by police for being in her own house, we know there’s a problem.
In a candid piece, Fay Wells tells The Washington Post about her police ordeal outside of her own home.
Wells got locked outside of her house in the predominately white neighborhood of Santa Monica, CA. She was rushing to her soccer game, so decided to deal with the fiasco when she got home.
After the locksmith opened up her house, she was getting settled when she heard a barking dog. She peered outside her window to see a gun pointed straight at her.
‘Come outside with your hands up,’ they demanded.
She explains, ‘This man has a gun and will kill me if I don’t come outside. At the same time, I thought: I’ve heard this line from policemen in movies. Although he didn’t identify himself, perhaps he’s an officer.’
She went outside with her hand raised, thoughts racing through her head,
‘I had no idea what was happening, but I saw how it would end: I would be dead in the stairwell outside my apartment, because something about me — a 5-foot-7, 125-pound black woman — frightened this man with a gun. I sat down, trying to look even less threatening, trying to de-escalate. I again asked what was going on. I confirmed there were no pets or people inside.’
The cops invaded her home, put her hands behind her back and took her outside with her neighbors watching. Sixteen police officers were surrounding her.
It wasn’t until later that she learned the Santa Monica Police Department dispatched 19 officers after her neighbors called 911, reporting a burglary in her apartment.
A neighbor complained he had ‘never seen’ the VP before. She boldly stepped to her unfriendly neighbor and introduced herself.
‘[I] asked if he was aware of the gravity of his actions — the ocean of armed officers, my life in danger. He stuttered about never having seen me, before snippily asking if I knew mynext-door neighbor. After confirming that I did and questioning him further, he angrily responded, ‘I’m an attorney, so you can go f— yourself,’ and walked away.
What happened to Wells, proves that no titles, degrees or tax bracket can protect you from the criminalization of black skin.
It’s a microcosm for the continued aggressions against black people in minority neighborhoods. Trayvon Martin was pursued for looking out of place in his own damn neighborhood.
Fortunately, this situation ended in Wells filing a complaint, versus laying in a casket. But the emotional scars of being violated in front of your own home can never be erased.