Anupama Denise

Anupama Denise

Anupama started "Say Their Names" in 2020, an Anthology of Stories of the Black and Brown humans lost to police violence.

In Loving Memory of Renisha McBride

“This guy opened his door, took his shotgun and blew her head off.” – Attorney representing the McBride family

Renisha McBride, a 19-yr-old black teen, was killed in early November 2013. She had been in a car crash and was looking for help.

Crime: Car crash at around 1 am. 

Details
: Her cell phone battery was dead. She was dazed and confused. She may have been under the influence, and she may have had head trauma from the accident. Perhaps both. Seeking assistance, she knocked on several doors. For ~ 2 hours, no one answered. 

Death: At 3 am, a 54-year-old white man shot her in the face through his closed, locked door with a 12 gauge rifle. ⁠

Sentence
: Murderer: 17 years in prison. Renisha lost her life. She would have been 36 years old at the time of his release, with years and years left of her life to live. 

First Things First

Okay, folks, let's get this out of the way. Drinking and driving is not a crime punishable by execution. Neither is knocking on a door in the middle of the night. I do not condone, nor will I ever condone drinking and driving. However, this was a young woman who had done what an average teenager might have done. She was playing drinking games with a friend, got into a disagreement, and left. She was lucky in that the only person that was hurt by her decision to drive was her.

However, that had nothing to do with her death.

Why was she killed?

What caused her death? She knocked on a stranger's door (perhaps several without luck), and the one that answered her call for help killed her.

Now that we've voiced that, let's talk about this:

“Wafer told authorities that he accidentally discharged his 12-gauge shotgun. However, expert testimony for the prosecution indicated that Wafer was only about three feet away from McBride when the gun was fired, and there was no possibility the gun fired accidentally.” – WildAboutTrial.com

 *bangs head against wall*

This one doesn't fall into police brutality. This one falls into victims of white supremacy and gun violence. This one feeds my opposition to guns. Could this man have had a non-lethal weapon instead? One that either of his, even if his defenses were true – accidental or fear-driven – could not have resulted in Renisha's death?

Could he have chosen to ignore her cries? To open her door and ask what's wrong? To yell through the closed door to see what's wrong? Perhaps he could have called the police and said, “Someone is knocking at my door at 3 am; it seems like something is wrong.” (Though unfortunately, it's hard to say that would have resulted in something different.)

Instead, this man didn't even bother to open the door. He executed this 19-year-old woman by shooting her in the face without even opening it to ask her to leave.

So wait… what was her crime?

Being Black. 

Struggling with that? Have you ever wondered, “If I knock on the wrong house, will I be shot? Even if I'm asking for help?”

I have.

If you are brown, you [likely] have. 

Renisha McBride was murdered for knocking on the wrong door. She deserved more. She deserved help.

SOURCES:

https://wildabouttrial.com/trial-coverage/theodore-paul-wafer-renisha-mcbride-murder/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2013/11/13/how-did-a-young-detroit-woman-end-up-dead-on-a-strangers-front-porch/

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