SANTA MONICA—Fay Wells, an African-American vice president of an undisclosed California company was arrested on September 6 after officers from the Santa Monica Police Department responded to a 9-1-1 call.
Authorities received a call from a neighbor at 11:16 p.m. who claimed they witnessed a residential burglary, according to Santa Monica Police Department’s bulletin. The witness, who is described as white, by Wells, described the burglars as “a Latino male wearing a dark hat and dark shirt and two girls, possibly Hispanic, wearing dark clothing.”
According to the SMPD, as a result of the nature of the call, 15 officers were dispatched to the area. Officers arrived at the scene after the call was made, including two supervisors. A few officers, including a K-9 entered the apartment building where Wells resided.
Wells responds in a statement regarding the incident after being apprehended by the officers:
“Peering through my blinds, I saw a gun,” she wrote. “A man stood at the bottom of the stairs, pointing it at me. I stepped back and heard: ‘Come outside with your hands up.’ I thought: This man has a gun and will kill me if I don’t come outside.”
Two of the officers had guns as reported by the Los Angeles Times. The officers demanded to know who was inside, according to Wells.
“I told the officers I didn’t want them in my apartment,” she wrote. “I said they had no right to be there. They entered anyway,” says Wells. “One pulled me, hands behind my back, out to the street. The neighbors were watching. Only then did I notice the ocean of officers. I counted 16.”
Santa Monica Police Department Police Chief, Jacqueline Seabrooks, who has served the community for over 34 years, gave a statement liking the incident to Rorschach-style images, which gives multiple perspectives based on the view.
“As a Black woman born and raised in South-Central Los Angeles, I empathize with Ms. Fay Wells and how this experience has made her feel,” say Seabrooks. “On the other hand, as an experienced law enforcement executive, I understand the Police Department’s response and the need for that response. This seeming dichotomy may be difficult for some to accept, particularly given the national dialogue. From my perspective, the 9-1-1 caller was not wrong for reporting what he believed was an in-progress residential burglary. Put yourself in his place. Ms. Wells is not wrong to feel as she does. Put yourself in her shoes. And, the Santa Monica Police Department’s response was not wrong. Put yourself in the officers’ shoes. I have chosen to share the post-incident audio recording so you can listen and draw your own conclusions…”
Canyon News has reached out to SMPD, who has made no further comment regarding the incident.