Mixed emotions when black women call the cops on black men
Both groups are on the losing side when police show up, even for deck disputes
When one of the deck workers asked me to come outside, all I heard was a guy screaming and cursing in the background. I paused and went, “Who is that?” I thought he was just listening to two people talking in the background, but it turned out that the irate person was talking directly to the worker. I grabbed the first pair of shoes I could find, a nearby mask I keep hooked to a kitchen cabinet and jogged outside. It sounded like a fight was about to break out, and I had no clue what in the world lead to it. With three of the six workers still handling deck maintenance, I assumed it was an internal argument. It was not.
By the time I got around the corner, I saw an older black man well over 6'0 with a potbelly. My guess is he had to be somewhere between 200–250 pounds, standing over a shorter, smaller deck repair worker. I’d never seen the man before and wondered what in the world happened that lead to him shouting “Get off my property.” The deck repair worker stood calmly, filming him with his own smartphone as the brotha paced back and forth, snatching hoses and still cursing.
Eventually I came to the conclusion — from looking at his car — that it had gotten dirty during the power washing. Although all tenants and owners were asked to clear out of the lot, his car was in what looked like an alley. It wasn’t quite a driveway and no one knew the owner. (In retrospect, I wish I would’ve put a note on the car since I had no idea what door to knock on or bell to ring.)
If you’ve ever seen power washing, you already know that it’s a lot of dirt and debris falling from the deck to the ground. It’s nothing a rainy day or a cheap car wash wouldn’t fix, but it definitely does leave a film on someone’s car. I told him to blame me, not them, because I was the one who OK’d them doing the power washing.
“Take all that aggression out on me because they’re just doing their job,” I said.
Naively, I hoped stating this would make him take it down a notch. Looking at him eye-to-eye, I hoped that me (a black woman) looking at this black man would make him at least talk to me with minimal respect. (All the workers were Russian.) But what I really wanted him to do was stop pacing around, yelling and snatching hoses. Because if he continued being this irate over a dirty car then eventually I was going to have to call the police. And the last thing I wanted to do was involve the police, especially when I’m looking at a man who is larger than George Floyd and about the height of Eric Garner. I already know what the results are when the cops show up.