I watched 10 Oakland Police officers watch a woman of color and mother of two bleed out this morning. I watched them watch her die.
She was my neighbor. Her name was Marida. About two months ago, her ex beat the shit out of her and she escaped to her front porch and was crying. When I heard her screaming, I got out of bed, pulled my big boots on, and grabbed a baseball bat. I chased her ex off with the bat and then took care of her and stayed with her while the cops questioned her. I met her kids. I knew her.
She moved out of the house and the abusive ex stayed. I hadn’t seen her for over a month.
At around 5 am, my husband and I woke up to screaming and yelling. We both thought we heard two men fighting and threatening to kill each other. I personally will put myself in a lot of danger to help a battered woman but I really don’t want to get involved in a fight with two dudes who are probably stronger than me and threatening to shoot each other. I stayed in my bed.
Then there was screaming. A lot of it. Then there was silence. Then there was a man screaming. He was yelling, “Oh my god, why did you do that? You’re bleeding!” and so I assumed someone had been stabbed. Then the cops came.
I’ve been doing Copwatch for a couple of years now. I unfortunately had every single one of my cameras stolen in a home robbery in December, so I couldn’t tape anything. But I could watch. So this is what I saw from my front porch.
I saw Marida laying on the ground by her house. I saw at least 10 police officers walking around the house, one taking pictures, all of them shining their flashlights around. Some were talking to the upset ex. I heard him tell them that she tried to climb through the back window and cut her arm on the glass. Obviously I don’t know if I believe that cuz, you know, he BEAT HER two months ago, but that’s kind of irrelevant.
I thought she was dead already. I thought this because no one was in any hurry. They were taking pictures of the front of the house while she was on the ground. Not once did I see anyone crouch down to check on her, to talk to her. They stood above her and shined their flashlights over her body. That image will stay with me for the rest of my god damn life.
It took 15-20 minutes for an ambulance to come. I should have timed it, that was a rookie mistake, but like I said, I thought she was dead already. The fucking idiot cops had parked their cars in the middle of the street so the ambulance had to park half a block away and I watched them LEISURELY stroll up to the house with a stretcher and then LEISURELY stroll back to the ambulance. I basically only really knew she was alive when I saw that 1. she wasn’t in a body bag and 2. she was moving on the stretcher.
I live across the street from a children’s hospital. I mean, literally across the street. I mean I live 25 yards away from a children’s hospital.
I watched the cops watch a woman die this morning. A black woman. A mother of two. A domestic abuse survivor. I watched them watch her die.
A neighbor told my husband this morning while he was walking the dog that she didn’t make it. The neighbor, also a single mother of two and a woman of color, said to him, “I guess it’s not like the movies where everyone rushes around and they save you right there on the ground.” My husband nodded but didn’t say what we all know to be true:
"They do if you’re white."
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