Another day, another overreaction by the police. Fay Wells, a Santa Monica resident with an Ivy League education who is a vice-president at a Califorina company, did what many of us have done at least once – locked herself out of her apartment. Although she’d just been living in the beach community for seven months, she had no reason to think that getting a locksmith to let her in would make her seem suspicious. After gaining access to her apartment, she went on with her day. But a white neighbor who didn’t know her, reported her to police as a potential burglar. After that, Wells says, all hell broke loose.
She shared her story with The Washington Post:
A few hours and a visit from a locksmith later, I was inside my apartment and slipping off my shoes when I heard a man’s voice and what sounded like a small dog whimpering outside, near my front window. I imagined a loiterer and opened the door to move him along. I was surprised to see a large dog halfway up the staircase to my door. I stepped back inside, closed the door and locked it.
I heard barking. I approached my front window and loudly asked what was going on. Peering through my blinds, I saw a gun. A man stood at the bottom of the stairs, pointing it at me. I stepped back and heard: “Come outside with your hands up.” I thought: 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.
I left my apartment in my socks, shorts and a light jacket, my hands in the air. “What’s going on?” I asked again. Two police officers had guns trained on me. They shouted: “Who’s in there with you? How many of you are there?”
Wells says a total of nineteen police officers showed up at the reported burglary. And worse, when she asked her neighbor why he’d called he basically told her to ‘F– off.”
Wells, who instituted an Internal Affairs investigation that is still pending, says she was humiliated and traumatized and is now fearful in her own home.
Read her entire story HERE.
Commenters on the WaPo website were merciless, saying Wells exaggerated the racial component of the large police presence. What do you think – was she right in thinking that 19 police officers responding to a potential burglary was too much? Or were police justified in checking to appease a worried neighbor?