I’m Struggling: Contradictions, Violence, and Dependence on Police

I called the cops today.

This is not something I do. I don’t call the cops.

Today, I was outside with my babygirl raking the yard. A young Black couple walks by.

Now, I’ll pause here to point out that I’ve done a poor job of getting to know my neighbors. The only people we know even a little are the guy right next to us, and the people directly across the street. But we don’t know them. I couldn’t tell you their names, but I say hi when I see them.

So, it wasn’t extraordinary that I didn’t know the kids walking by. I’m guessing they were teenagers.

I heard them arguing in the street. I didn’t pay much attention; teenagers tend to be loud, and I couldn’t tell whether or not they were serious.

I see the girl running in the street not far from the house, but not close enough that I can see what’s going on. I hear a car coming. I think to myself, “I wish those kids would stop playing in the street, because that car is coming fast, and that’s scaring me.” I am old, apparently.

I hear the young woman scream, then I see the young man run back by going in the opposite direction. A few seconds later, the young woman is walking up my driveway.

“Can I use your phone please.”

She is crying. “Are you ok?”

No. “What’s wrong?”

“He put his hands on me and broke my phone and I need to call the police.”

Sigh. Truthfully, I know enough people who have had their phones snatched trying to help folks, that I’m not all the way trusting. “You want to call the police? Hold on, I’ll call for you.”

I talk to the police. They show up a few minutes later. Never seen cops show up so quickly.

Two cars approach. One with a Black woman cop, one with a Black man cop.

They both get out and walk up the driveway.

“Did you call for the police?”

“Yes, but this little sista is the one needing help.”

They go through the story with her. Apparently, he lives a few houses away, while she lives on a nearby street. Her friend had called. He got mad and took her phone. I can remember this. I heard her yelling for him to give her back the phone. She tries to get the phone back. He breaks it, punches her in the face, scratches her.

“What did you do?” the Black woman asks her.

“I started to cry.”

“Did you see this ma’am?”

“I couldn’t see what was going on, but I heard her scream, then she came and asked to use the phone.”

They ask her if this is the first time he had hit her. It is not. She says his mom had found out about him hitting her, and kicked him out of the house.

She would like to press charges.

She goes to the car with one officer, and the other officer goes to his house to see if he is there. After doing whatever it is they do at the car, she comes back to use my phone and call her people. When she is done, the woman officer takes her home.

I gather my babygirl and go inside.

I wish so many things. I wish there was something else I could have done, something besides call the cops on my neighbor’s kid. I wish I would have known he was my neighbor’s kid. I wish he would have known me. Maybe he would have thought twice. I wish he wouldn’t have been an abuser. I wish this little sis had someone to help her get out of that abusive relationship. I wish we had some infrastructure in place to intervene outside of the police state.

But here we are. A young woman got assaulted on my street today. She came to me asking for help.

And I called the cops.