A Distraught Woman May Have Saved A Black Man From Being Shot By Police
The woman pleaded with officers to put their guns down before they arrested a young man at a gas station in California on Friday.
A distraught Black woman may have saved a young man's life on Friday when she began filming video of his arrest at a gas station in Hawthorne, California.
This black woman saved this man's life. Listen to the trauma and pain in her voice.— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) June 9, 2019'
"Can Yall just put your guns away and somebody get him. Don't move. Don't move." 💔
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The woman, who called herself 'Skye,' was in tears as she begged police not to shoot 24-year-old William Ewell. More than 10 officers were at the scene and all of them were pointing their guns at Ewell as he knelt.
The harrowing five-minute video footage was shared on Instagram Live, who spoke to Ewell as he knelt and implored officers to just arrest him instead of shooting him.
"Can somebody put your guns down and please come get him?" she asked.
"Why are your guns pulled on this young man? He has no weapons on him."
While telling Ewell to stay calm and stay still, she told police that her boyfriend, Leroy Browning, was shot to death by police in 2015.
Browning's case was highly publicized because he was shot after he was already in police custody. As Skye describes her own experience with police shootings, she begins to audibly cry and beg the officers not to kill Ewell.
At one point in the video, you can see two officers pointing their guns at Skye while other officers tried to explain why they were arresting Ewell.
Eventually, police approached him and handcuffed him before speaking to Skye about what was happening. In the video, you can hear an officer saying Ewell matched the description of a suspect police were looking for.
In a statement, police say Ewell was allegedly involved in a robbery-assault at the gas station. However, they did not explain why so many officers were needed for the arrest. Furthermore, they did not provide an explanation as to why officers were threatening to use such force against both the suspect and bystander.
They defended their actions by claiming that Ewell was possibly armed, which he was not.
On Twitter, Skye's video sparked outrage. Many questioned why police officers needed to point their guns at Ewell when he was already kneeling and ready to be arrested.
This is RACIAL PROFILING!— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) June 9, 2019'
They had the entire police force draw guns on this one black man for "fitting the description" of an "armed robber"
Imagine the everlasting trauma this would have on an innocent person because they "fit the description"
Even with the eventual relatively-happy ending this broke me.— butting (@butting_nz) June 10, 2019'
"We're not saying he's a suspect, but we have to figure out what's going on, all right? So try and relax."
That wasn't a figure-out-what's-going-on squad. That was a death squad.
He's obviously not who they were looking for. He "fits" the description is what they'll say. Truth is IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO POINT SO MANY GUNS ON 1 MAN. Go in with taser, secure "suspect" and investigate. NOT AIM TO KILL.— Carlos L. Webb V (@TacoChorizo) June 9, 2019'
"This happened in the city of Hawthorne, which was a sundown town until the middle of the twentieth century," said Rebecca J. Kavanagh, a public defender in New York City and well known activist.
"Thinking about all of this, it hits me that what while what Skye did is remarkable, and it's incredible that she happened to be there at that exact same time, it's not incredible at all that she lived through a horribly similar experience with her boyfriend."
The video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Twitter and Instagram. Many users praised Skye for stepping up to help someone she does not know personally. In the video, an officer asks her why she was speaking up.
Through her tears she said, “I don’t even know him, but I care that much.”