I said it was only me and, hands still raised, slowly descended
the stairs, focused on one officer’s eyes and on his pistol. I had
never looked down the barrel of a gun or at the face of a man with
a loaded weapon pointed at me. In his eyes, I saw fear and anger.
I had no idea what was happening, but I saw how it would end: I
would be dead in the stairwell outside my apartment, because
something about me — a 5-foot-7, 125-pound black woman —
frightened this man with a gun. I sat down, trying to look even
less threatening, trying to de-escalate. I again asked what was
going on. I confirmed there were no pets or people inside.
I told the officers I didn’t want them in my apartment. I said
they had no right to be there. They entered anyway. 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. They still hadn’t told me why they’d come.