When we talk about systemic racism in policing, we’re not just talking about shootings, lethal chokeholds and beatings; we’re also talking about harassment, racial profiling, wanton disregard for the well being and dignity of Black bodies, and the tendency of police officers to be generally more aggressive when dealing with Black suspects.
Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario reminded us that being a member of the U.S. military won’t shield you from it. A 9-year-old girl who was pepper-sprayed by New York police officers reminded us that even preteen youth is no deterrent for police brutality. Anjanette Young reminded us that the dignity and respect of Black women take a backseat to police authority.
So basically, neither gender, age nor social status will save us from the anti-Blackness that is commonly shown in police practices—which brings us to Ruby Jones.
KOCO 5 reports that Jones, who is a 74-year-old grandmother, has filed a lawsuit against three Oklahoma City police officers who she said broke her arm while they were arresting her last August.
In police bodycam footage, Jones can be seen answering the door after police arrived at her home to arrest her son, Chauncey, who they said was alleged to have made a bomb threat at the Red Rock Behavioral Center. Jones said she refused to let them in her home because they refused to show her proof of the arrest warrant they claimed to have.
“You’re fixin’ to go if you don’t move,” one officer can be heard telling Jones. Then things got worse after an officer is heard shouting at her son to “let me see your fucking hands.”
Because she was concerned that hostile-ass police officers might shoot her son, she refused to move and was subsequently yanked by her arms by the officers and handled in a way that no 74-year-old woman should ever be handled, which caused her to fall to the floor, at which point, she was manhandled again.
“I’ll never forget this, the pain, the agony,” Jones said through tears during a news conference Tuesday. “Oh God, the headaches and all that I suffer.”
“When they pulled me in there, they pulled me up out of there, and my arm was broken. And they pulled it back,” she continued.
“They just barged into her home with their guns drawn, cussing at her son who they knew had a mental health issue,” attorney Demarrio Solomon-Simmons said.
Jones claimed the officers entered her home without showing a warrant. Solomon-Simmons and Jones believe the officers’ actions had to do with race.
“That would not have happened to a white grandmother, in a white neighborhood,” Solomon-Simmons said.
Oklahoma City Police Department officials released a statement when the body camera video was released in February.
“It was determined that the responding officers should have made greater efforts to de-escalate the situation prior to resorting to use of force,” police officials said.
They also said there were discipline and retraining in the aftermath. Jones and her lawyer said they want the officers fired.
How does a person even bring themselves to use force on a senior citizen in this way? Well, the simplest answer is that one would have to view said elderly person as less than human; it’s the only explanation I can think of. To be Black in America is to live in a world that is often blind to your humanity—and the people who are tasked with protecting and serving us all remind us of this constantly.