One Baltimore #32, The Raid, Part 2

1/13/20

This week, the second installment of my interview with a woman whose home was raided by the Baltimore Police Department after she tried to report a dealer on her block who they seemed determined not to touch. Her story is anonymous because she was placed under a gag order as a condition of settling her case. When we left off, black-clad men had just burst into her home, made her lie down on the floor at gunpoint while screaming at her, and made her young son think that he was about to die.

Read Part 1 here — https://one-baltimore.org/2020/01/06/one-baltimore-31-the-raid-part-1.

*

Anon: One of them points at me and he’s like, “Miss [redacted]”. I’m like, “How does he know my name?” I didn’t give my license at this point or anything. And he’s like, “I told you to shut the fuck up and I’ll tell you what’s going on when I’m ready,” and then he has a piece of paper in his hand and he flashes it in my face, and he’s like, “We have the right to be in here because somebody in here is selling drugs.” And I said, “You’re wrong, there’s no drugs being sold out of this house, it’s across the street.”

Then it was just chaotic, they were bringing my son up, my husband was handcuffed on the couch, they were attempting to separate us. The one who I found out later was Detective [redacted, who was also involved in a notorious police brutality incident that ended in death for an unarmed civilian] slammed the battering ram in the middle of my living room and was like, “Damn, I was really hoping I was gonna get to use this tonight,” like he wanted to bust down my door, he got his rocks off with that.

They sat my son on the sofa next to his handcuffed father and his hysterical mother being brought out of the room, so I couldn’t even console him. They wouldn’t let us touch each other, they wouldn’t let us engage with each other, talk to each other. They turned the TV off, and then it was odd because the game that night, I remember was the Steelers and somebody else, but they were saying that this lead detective was a Steelers fan, and trying to get us to say stuff.

Abby: What kind of stuff?

Anon: Like, derogatory stuff, because we were Ravens fans.

Abby: HA!

Anon: Like, they’re trying to get you to start something, run your mouth.

Abby: And that was his plan, to try and play to the Steelers/Ravens rivalry??

Anon: Yeah. So then, he claimed that he got the okay from a judge that they were going to execute the search warrant on my house. He threw a copy down, and he’s like, “The name of the judge isn’t on there because they don’t want reprisals against judges,” but I don’t know if a judge ever really even signed it. And if so, you gotta worry about that, judge, because once you actually read it, it’s a joke, it’s like a cookie cutter, they just fill in random information.

They tossed my basement, they ripped it apart, drawers out, stuff thrown all over the place, cabinets opened. They trashed my yard, I had beautiful tomato plants, they ripped them all out.

Abby: What?

Anon: Yeah, it was so random. We had tiki torches that we had stacked to put back into the garage, and they were strewn and broken all over the place. There was an extension from a hose from our sump pump that just was like thrown, ’cause I guess maybe one of them must have tripped over it in the dark.

See, and that’s the thing, our lights in the back weren’t turned on, so it was really black back there, and if my son would have made it out of that doorway, they probably would have shot him. But he told me a voice, a female voice came into his head and said, “Stand still, don’t run,” so he did, he listened, thank god, because they totally would have killed him, and then we wouldn’t even be sitting here, ‘cause… I don’t even know if I’d be sitting here.

They said “Who else lives here?” And I was like, “My son, who’s at work, his room’s upstairs.” They trashed his room, like demolished his room, but they touched nothing on my first floor. That’s not proper protocol –

Abby: Right, if you’re actually looking for something, and not just trying to cause havoc, you look through the whole house.

Anon: What was even funnier was the piece of furniture that he dropped the search and seizure on was a big trunk, a wooden trunk. They didn’t even go in my medicine cabinet! They went through nothing on the first floor, they touched nothing.

I served on the grand jury, so I have read the reports from actual search and seizures, where like they cut open teddy bears and found drugs and… you know what I mean? So, I was like, “There’s really something off here,” but they kept screaming in my face telling me not to talk to the other two.

They wound up bringing me in the kitchen, separating me, and I just started chattering because I was scared. I was annoying them, because I wouldn’t shut up, I just was asking all kinds of questions, and then one of them was sitting there trying to convince me my son was the drug hustler.

Abby: Your son in college?

Anon: My son in college, who’s hardly ever even in the neighborhood. Like even though he lives in my house, he was hardly ever there. And he had an iPhone at the time, so he was easily traceable,’cause he checked in everywhere.

So they came down from his room and they put these two items on the table and one was a little cylindrical thing, and it was a grinder.

Abby: Gasp!

Anon: Yeah, so I said, “Okay well, I know he’s smokes weed, but he’s not supposed to have it in my house.” And they opened it and there wasn’t even any residue in it, and then the other was a Coke can, but it was a false bottom Coke can, and there was no residue in it. I said, “So are you gonna arrest him based on that?”

And he was like, “No we can’t arrest him.” And I’m like, “…because you haven’t found anything.”

So they were getting irritated with me that I was pointing out the obvious, and the one was screaming in my face, “We saw him, we were over there observing and we saw him.” And I’m thinking in my head, it’s im-fucking-possible that they saw him ’cause I haven’t even seen him, with as much as he’s been working!

Abby: And you’re taking all these notes on everybody going in and out of the house, and the makes of the cars, so you’re very aware…

Anon: Yeah. So then they started saying stuff like, “Have you seen some of the things that he has up there?” and I’m like, “What are you talking about?” And they’re like “Hats and sneakers, and they’re not cheap,” and I’m like… “He has a job, his girlfriend has a job. I have a job, we buy him those things, he buys them for himself.”

And then they were like, “Yeah well he needs to be careful who his friends are,” and all of this stuff. And then they brought down this piece of paper that they found, it was a jail ID for this childhood friend of his, they’re almost like brothers, who got wrapped up in some craziness years and years ago, and he was sending him some of his things to hold while he was in jail. He would collect comic books and would send them to him, like “Just hold on to these for me.” He wasn’t sending him anything illicit or whatever. So he’s like, “Who is this person?” And I’m like, “He doesn’t live here, it’s none of your business.” And he wasn’t arrested for drugs, so you know what I’m saying.

Like, they’re not trying to make some shit up but they stayed there for two and a half hours, and by the end they had me so mentally fatigued. They were working on my husband in the living room and they were convincing my husband, who’s not my son’s father — my older son, he’s my younger son’s father but not my older son — they worked on convincing him that my boy was selling drugs out of there. And then when they, of course, didn’t find anything, they started filing out my front door and literally, their parting shot was: “Sorry for the inconvenience.”

Abby: What a punchline. So, what sorts of things were going through your mind as all this was happening?

Anon: I was trying to fight the urge to be convinced that my son was selling drugs, because they just repeat stuff and they’re yelling at you, like different people are yelling at you at different times, and telling you you’re wrong in your truth, that what you know to be a fact is wrong, and then you realize they’re trying to goad you into being combative, so then you’re trying… like, calm yourself down, don’t raise your voice, don’t get snarky. It was just trying to go through an inventory of every possible flaw they could find in me, in order to beat me up, lock me up.

I had to actually go pick my older son up from work later that night, right after. I was really, really quiet, which is not my nature and he was like, “What’s wrong?” and I’m like, “We need to just get home.” I sat him at the table and I put the warrant in front of him and he was reading it and he said, “Mom, this doesn’t even make any sense,” and he’s like, “Wait… are they trying to blame me for selling the drugs around here?” and I’m like “That’s what it looks like,” and he’s like, “You have to know…” And I’m like, “You haven’t even been here.”

Abby: What do you do after that?

Anon: I stayed up all night, hysterical, crying. I couldn’t go to sleep, my child couldn’t go to sleep, my husband tried to go to sleep. I wound up, by the time six AM came, I had to call my boss and tell her I was non-functional.

*

Next time, Anon decides she isn’t going to take this lying down.

On Saturday, Circles of Voices (a conversation group about which I’ve heard really great things) is hosting Tawanda Jones at Impact Hub Baltimore. If you’ve been wanting to get to know Tawanda’s work better, or just to have a real conversation about racism and the local justice system, check it out. There’s a $10 registration fee, but if you don’t got it, ping me, it can be waived. Hope to see you there!

https://www.facebook.com/events/749404708879289/

You know what I’m about to say — Free Keith Davis, Jr.!!

#OneBaltimore #ForcedSilenceCondonesPoliceViolence #BaltimorePoliceDepartment #DisbandBPD

Cultural Event of the Week: Have you been to Night Shift LGBTQ since it reopened? Located in an industrial corner on the southeast edge of town where 95 and 895 intersect, the once and former adult entertainment venue is now run by some of the coolest queers in town. This Saturday night, 1/18, Night Shift and the Clifton Pleasure Club are hosting A 90’s Deep Lez House Party, featuring a slew of awesome local dancers and performers, including the inimitable Andre Shakti!

https://www.facebook.com/events/583326142458871/

Green Event of the Week: Surrounded by pollution and concrete, city trees have it tough. If we want to reap the many benefits of a healthy urban tree canopy, we have give them a hand! This Wednesday, 1/15, join Blue Water Baltimore for a Pruning Party where you’ll learn about tree care and help ensure that recently-planted trees have the love they need to keep going.

Green Up: Tree Care Volunteering

The New Year’s Day West Wednesday Speak-Out Session against police brutality and gag orders. Courtesy of Opal.

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