Imagine waking up to the sounds of your bedroom window being broken from the outside. Would you think to protect yourself by firing your gun (if you legally own one), run to your bathroom for safety, and call 9-1-1 for help? That’s exactly what 28-year-old Diamonds Ford, who is Black, did. Now, Ford and her 28-year-old fiancé Anthony Gantt are facing charges for attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and armed possession of marijuana. The officers, who Ford and Gantt thought to be intruders, were actually SWAT officers who did not make their presence announced properly while executing a residential search. The incident, which took place in Jacksonville, Florida on September 28, 2020, was a part of a nationwide narcotics warrant, resulting in one officer being wounded with non-life threatening injuries.

According to arrest reports, authorities announced themselves with a loudspeaker before executing the warrant and Ford surrendered to authorities once she learned they were police. Stephen Kelly, Ford’s lawyer, stated at a press conference that Ford’s 9-1-1 call was evident of the belief that intruders were forcing their way into her home and no-knock warrants do not exist in Florida. However, if authorities fail to properly notify residents of their presence, then they’re essentially not knocking. “…just hearing her voice, she was in fear. She thought she was going to die that day,” said Attorney Kelly.

Ford’s bail was set at $535,000. Her attorney argued that Ford shouldn’t have a bail set so high as she’s not a flight risk. Several advocacy groups, including Dignity Power, The National Bail Fund Network, and The Minnesota Freedom Fund raised an excess of funds to pay Ford’s bond and are calling for charges against Ford and Gantt to be dropped. Ford has been released. However Gantt, Ford’s fiancé, remains jailed on a $350,000 bond, which attorneys have filed a motion to be reduced.

Why We Need To Know:

This case comes at a time when national conversations about systematic racism in law enforcement are being held. The similarities in this case and the case of Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police during a warrant served at the wrong residence, are alarmingly similar. Let’s not forget the case of Anjanette Young in Chicago who was forced to stand naked and handcuffed in her home as police served a warrant at the wrong residence. 

“Prosecutors need to protect Black women,” said Tray Johns, executive director of Dignity Power, which helps formerly incarcerated women. Agreed. In the meantime, how can Black women lawfully protect themselves from these inhumane policing tactics and can we sleep safely at night?