She locked herself out of her apartment, no big deal usually. Fay Wells got a locksmith, problem solved. But Wells’ problems were just beginning. Imagine her shock when, minutes later, an unidentified man with a gun forced her out of her apartment.
The deadly serious man in street clothes demanded that she:
“Come outside with your hands up.”
She complied with his command and was further shocked to find a total of 19 police officers with guns readied at her door. How much effort would it have taken for the man to identify himself and explain what was happening? Instead of answering her questions, the man ignored her, saying:
“Who’s in there with you? How many of you are there?”
The Santa Monica, Calif. police pushed her away from her apartment, her hands drawn behind her back, and proceeded with an unauthorized search of her home. Wells was embarrassed as she noticed her neighbors watching. The officers continued to ignore her requests. As it turns out, one of those neighbors called the police, because Wells is African-American. The neighbor assumed Wells was committing the crime of breaking and entering her own home!
Wells still has trouble sleeping, and she says:
“I’m heartbroken that his careless assessment of me, based on skin color, could endanger my life. I’m heartbroken by the sense of terror I got from people whose job is supposedly to protect me. I’m heartbroken by a system that evades accountability and justifies dangerous behavior. I’m heartbroken that the place I called home no longer feels safe. I’m heartbroken that no matter how many times a story like this is told, it will happen again.”
H/T: The Grio