In 2009, Baltimore police officers responded to a call regarding a shoot out involving retired school principal, Venus Green. The 3 officers came to her home to search for her grandson. Despite Ms. Green’s objections the officers charged into her home and conducted their search without even having a warrant. When one of the officers went into the basement of her home, Ms. Green locked the door behind him. A scuffle ensued between Ms. Green and one of the other officers. The then 87 year old woman was handcuffed, dragged across the room and thrown into a chair where she was called a “bitch” and ridiculed by the officer. Ms. Green suffered a separated shoulder among other injuries and later filed a lawsuit for assault, false imprisonment, injuries and police misconduct. After several years of legal battle Ms. Green was awarded a $95,000 settlement.
I commend the courage of Ms. Green. With all of the police killings and just the general knowledge and fears that Black people have when it comes to interacting with the police, Ms. Green did not allow them to simply get away with violating her civil rights.
This was my private home, and if I latched it, that was my prerogative because he had no search warrant to go in my basement. So, I had to right to latch it
– Venus Green
The officers didn’t arrest Ms. Green and probably had assumed that the old woman would tend to her injuries and move on. But not Ms. Green. I commend her for toiling through the daunting legal procedures to seek justice in court.
It does something to me when I hear stories of everyday heroes like Ms. Green. All too often we focus so hard on the stories that get mass media attention and we forget that every Black person in America, on any given day, is facing a myriad of dangers and making a plethora of choices that can have dire consequences. When Black people face people and systems of authority the tide can quickly turn against them. However, we must never allow that to make us stop standing up for ourselves. We must never be content to live on our knees.
Certainly not every battle or every circumstance warrants violence or an aggressive stance, but it definitely deserves whatever resistance you can muster. Sometimes that means locking the door; sometimes it means speaking out; sometimes it means going to court, sometimes it means going to jail. The method isn’t as important as the message: NO, it’s not okay. Historically the only thing that Black people have truly owned in America is their dignity and it should always be the thing we will not give up.
I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,
An Angry Black Man