Undercover cop harasses woman at grocery store, then pulls a gun

I would like to share a harassment story which was the scariest harassment experience in my life. It occurred almost a year ago, February 25, 2010. I am currently telling my story to local news media, in hopes that it will be published so women can be aware of the type of injustice that women go through so they know that they are not alone.

On February 25, 2010, I entered Shoppers grocery store in Largo, MD, to do some shopping. I had been dropped off by my younger brother (16) and he went into another store in the shopping center. Now around that time I had been getting street harassed so much that I was literally scared to go anywhere by myself. I had asked my brother to come into the store with me but he said that he was going to McDonalds and would meet me later.

As I entered the store I scanned my surroundings and I saw a guy who was in an aisle close to the entrance (my harassment experiences causes me to this). I had my headphones in my ear but my music turned off.

Anyway, as soon as I entered the specific aisle I needed to go to I could hear someone behind me. Ironically now the guy who was in the aisle close to the entrance is now behind me as soon as I stop (interesting huh). He starts frowning and asks me in a rude tone, “Are you just gonna stand in the middle of the isle like that?”

I was baffled because I was the only one in the isle and I am only 5’4 and medium build. There was no way I could have been in his way. Based on all my harassment experiences I was pretty sure what was going on, he was trying to harass me. It was no coincidence that he was towards the entrance of the store when I entered and saw him and as soon as I stopped, he was behind me.

I calmly said,”You don’t have to talk to me like that just because I’m a woman. How was I supposed to know you’re behind me?”

As I was rationally saying this, the guy was mumbling over me, he then slid past me (without me moving an inch) and said, “Why don’t you learn to turn your music down and maybe you’ll hear.”

Now as I mentioned I had headphones but know music and the reason was because of stuff like this. I’m TIRED of guys harassing me and this one was using this as a reason to harass me.

He appeared to be in his late 20s/early 30s. Who is he to come into a store and talk to another adult like this? I then told him he was ignorant…you know what he did? He leaned forward and YELLS in my face that I am ignorant. At this point we had an argument because I was pretty damn tired.

I am so tired of males harassing me whenever I’m by myself. It has affected me to the point where I no longer feel safe and at that point I was 25 years old and had years of street harassment under my belt. This was not the first time a male had harassed me in the grocery store either, but this one was more aggressive and I was damn sick of it!

Anyways a crowd started to form because we were yelling at each other and I became embarrassed. I know moved to another aisle and told him our conversation was over and you know what happened? He followed me into the next aisle with a big smirk on his face and continued to yell at me. That was IT!

I called my brother and vented about what happened and he was disgusted. I would always tell him about how guys would bother me in public and he always thought I was being dramatic. Well this time it happened with him being right across the street. This is where things got a little messy.

I wasn’t aware that my brother had met up with three of his high school buddies in the McDonalds and he didn’t tell me he was with them. Anyways he came to the store and when he met me in an aisle, he had one of his friends with him (I didn’t even know he had two other friends wating for him). Anyways he asked me where the guy was and I pointed him out.

I’ll never forget the look on the harasser’s face when he saw my brother. He looked like he got caugh t doing something he knew he wasn’t supposed to be doing. He knew he was wrong but just didn’t care. Now I had protection and he didn’t like that.

Anyways, my brother asked what the guy’s issue with me was, you know what the guy said? I aint got s— to say to you.

Can you imagine?

So, he could harass me, follow me, and yell at me, but had nothing to say to my little bro? Interesting, well I guess that’s how harassment works.

Anyways the guy walked towards our direction from the opposite end of the aisle, but as as he was walking my brother maintained eye contact with him and my brother  stood in front of me, blocking him from getting any closer to me.

Guess what the harasser did next?

He pulled out a gun and pointed it my brother and his friend. My brother told me to run and we all ran for dear life. I didn’t even know my brother had two other friends that he knew in the store and when they saw us running they tried to follow and guess what? The guy grabbed them.

As I ran out the store the store’s security followed ME as if I stole something. He told me to stop but I didn’t because I didn’t know if the guy was going to shoot me. I was outside at this point and my brother told the security to get his hands off of me cause we were running due to some guy brandishing a gun.

Me, my brother, and his friend (who was only 14) ran to the car. I threw up from anxiety as soon as I got in the car. As we pulled out of the lot I asked my brother about the two other kids in the store and he said nothing. We soon recieved a phone call.

When my brother answered the phone it was a PG police officer stating that my the guy I had gotten into it with was an MPD Forensics Police Officer and they had two of his friends who just happened to be in the store. They said I needed to come to the store and give a statement. I came back and explained everything as I am now, how this bastard went out of his way to harass me for no reason and then pulled a firearm on my brother when confronted (police told me he stated he felt threatned smh).

My thing is if he was felt threatened well then where did he get off harassing me? Anyways I gave a statement and the police gave me his name and badge and Lieutenant’s name so I could report him. I filed a formal complaint with his Lt. He was exonerated.

They said that based on the fact that there were multiple people in the store who knew my brother it ‘appeared’ to be an attack. Even though they never apporached him and he actually grabbed them.

Also, while I was getting harassed no one said anything (some grown black males were actually laughing). Anyways, the Lt. said based on witnesses they claimed I was being more combative (interesting huh ) especially since no one was around when he approached.

She even told me to own up to my culpability and tried to infer that I planned an attack. There’s a difference between a confrontation and an attack. What the officer did was an attack. Also, how was I to know he had friends with him (and they didn’t approach the harasser anyways).

When I filed an appeal a Lt. from invesitgative services bureau looked into the incident and found misconduct on the officer’s behavior because even if he was threatened he should have announced himself. He made recommendations for punishments and the officer’s commander overuled and just gave him a verbal repirmanding.

I was disgusted and am now trying to make local news media aware of my experience. MPD has made me lose faith and respect for them.

I am a woman who was minding her own business and one of their officers went out of his way to harass/intimidate me. At the time I didn’t understand why he was carrying on in the way he was because there was no reasonable reason for it. He literally walked up to me when I was alone and started lashing out at me.

I now know he was doing it becaus he had a gun and is liscensed to carry one along with a badge. They bought this animal’s excuse that he felt threatened by kids??? I know that there are some reckless youth now, but how could they buy that when he had just finished harassing a woman (someone who was defenseless against him)? I don’t understand.

And if his malicious behavior wasn’t bad to them, then what did we do to get a gun pulled in front of us? I believe in a higher power and one day this bastard will have to answer to treating a woman and kids like this.

Anyways, I just wanted to get my story out there (Internal Affairs) is currently going over all the evidence cause they know I’m making my story public.

I am welcome to comments and suggestions about any other alternatives to handling this incident. May I add that this incident has made me even more scared to be by myself than ever before.

For a minute, I thought he was going to kill us and I really think that’s what he wanted, to put us in absolute fear for our lives. Which is why he didn’t announce he was an officer.

I don’t feel safe anywhere in public because I’ve been harassed just about any and everywhere. On the street, the mall, the grocery store, the corner store, at work, the gas station, the subway (I refuse to take the subway after a few scary incidents), EVERY DAMN WHERE.

Nobody deserves to be attacked like this for no reason, it’s just wrong. Why can’t they just let me live my life in peace. Every time I see a male (that’s the same race as my harassers) I flinch because it’s not even a matter of them trying to flirt. It’s more about will they try to verbally attack/ assault me or are they carrying a weapon. My eyes literally starts twitching. I actually tried to see if I could sue him for assault (pulling the gun) but found I couldn’t because I had no injuries and I didn’t seek therapy for any mental trauma. I’m so tempted to out him on this site (name and badge number) but I won’t for legal reasons.

Anyways, I’m open to comments and suggestions….

– Nigeria Sista

Location: Shoppers, Largo, Maryland

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Find suggestions for what YOU can do about this human rights issue.


12 Responses to Undercover cop harasses woman at grocery store, then pulls a gun

  1. Golden Silence says:

    This is outrageous beyond words! I am so sorry that happened to you. They’ll give anyone a badge this day and age.

    You know the DC area has a strong blog culture, and word gets around quickly. Also, contact WJLA 7 and WUSA 9. I’m sure they’d love to sit and hear your story about this.

  2. big trucker says:

    Maybe you shouldn’t take up so much of the isle. It sounded to me he was past you when you berated him by calling him ignorant.

  3. Megan says:

    I’ve heard telling your story to the news can work. Media pressure often changes how a police department handles things. I’m sorry that happened to you. I had a cop in NOLA harass and arrest me. I still have a panic attack when I see a police car – I’m not doing anything illegal, it’s just a weird reaction. I don’t feel safe but I’m stuck here because the states attorney wanted to give the cop another chance to show up for court. It is horrible when you can’t trust the police. Who can you turn to when other people harass you. It is a scary feeling. You deserve to be able to walk down the street without being bothered. Every woman should be able to be in public and feel safe. I haven’t felt safe since that cop falsely arrested me.

  4. Nigerian Sista says:

    big trucker says:
    February 17, 2011 at 10:33 pm
    Maybe you shouldn’t take up so much of the isle. It sounded to me he was past you when you berated him by calling him ignorant.

    Um well since you directed your comment to me then I will repsond to you. If you read my story I said that I am only 5’4 and meduim sized and was the ONLY person in the ENTIRE isle. I was not standing in the middle of the isle he was attempting to harass me and his approach WAS ignorant because there is no need to approach a stranger like that in a grocery store. I’m going to take a shot in the dark and guess that you are a male. I wonder how nicely you would have repsonded if someone coincidentally starteed harassing you as soon as you walked into a store and then tell you you’re taking up space when you’re obviously NOT. I also wonder how YOU would feel if strange males (people who are easily stronger than you) were constantly harassing you (i.e. cursing at you, appraising your looks, getting in your personal space, attempting to fondle you) everywhere you went. It’s interesting that I went through a trauma like this where I was rudely approached (which I mentioned and eventually had a firearm pulled in my presence) and all YOU can do is make an accusatory comment to me the victim. It’s funny how some people never get it until it happens to them smh.

  5. Golden Silence says:

    Maybe you shouldn’t take up so much of the isle.

    Maybe you should learn the proper spelling of “aisle” in this case.

    Regardless of who was in the way, pulling a gun on someone is not the proper response. This guy used intimidation and fear to get his way. You, like a typical troll, only see what you want to see and don’t see the bigger picture.

  6. Nigerian Sista says:

    Golden Silence says:
    February 18, 2011 at 2:37 pm
    Maybe you shouldn’t take up so much of the isle.

    Maybe you should learn the proper spelling of “aisle” in this case.

    Regardless of who was in the way, pulling a gun on someone is not the proper response. This guy used intimidation and fear to get his way. You, like a typical troll, only see what you want to see and don’t see the bigger picture.

    Thankyou so much, you always speak up for what is right. I sent him a little message response myself lol. After everything I stated in my altercation and the trauma I still experience almost a year later and he makes that kind of statement? Wow… My thing is what on earth is he doing on this blog, it’s for empowerment and pretty much a ‘safe haven’ for people who experience harassment. What happened to me was no joke, I thought I was going to be killed on the spot in a grocery store and here he goes… Makes you wonder about some people and whether they have any heart at all. That type of mentality is one of the forces behind gender based violence anyways.

  7. Golden Silence says:

    My thing is what on earth is he doing on this blog, it’s for empowerment and pretty much a ‘safe haven’ for people who experience harassment.

    Trolls have a bad habit of bringing down these sites with their awful commentary. They’re miserable individuals who need to bring people down to make themselves feel good. I’m sure big trucker and others like him would never have the guts to say these things directly to someone’s face.

    Thankyou so much, you always speak up for what is right.

    Thanks for the compliment. I try, even if I’m not always listened to or heard.

    Please try to get in touch with the stations I mentioned (as well as others in the area), and keep us posted.

  8. Nigerian Sista says:

    Please try to get in touch with the stations I mentioned (as well as others in the area), and keep us posted.

    I will. Again, thank you.

  9. alan says:

    Nigerian Sista, I am so sorry this happened. It is an incredible story of wrong. I hope you find success in getting the media to follow the story and that justice is served. I often hear the saying, “what goes around comes around” I hope this is true and I hope it especially for you.

  10. Megan says:

    Anyone that needs to use the word “big” and reference a car in the same screen name, probably isn’t feeling so secure in certain areas of their life. I know, I shouldn’t have fed the damn troll, but his comment was completely uncalled for. You shouldn’t have to feel like you have to defend yourself on this website. I really hope you do get in touch with some media outlets.

  11. Nigerian Sista says:

    Alan and Megan thank you so much for your kind words. I have told many people my story and their have been people who are close to me and have actually blamed me. They said I shouls not have spoke up and entertained him. Basically they feel I should have taken the abusive just to keep myself safe. It’s good to know that their are people out here who are honorable in the sense that they can identify exactly what this situation was-an attack on a woman and a violent message to her protectors to stay out of it.

  12. Megan says:

    That is awful that people around you feel you should have kept your mouth shut. That is the attitude I experienced from a lot of people. In Louisiana apparently your only response to cops (no matter how out of line, or crooked) should be ‘yes officer’. I can make ‘officer’ sound more offensive then any 4 letter curse word – I have no control over how I say it or my facial movements, it’s a reaction. And it seems to really piss people off. No one deserves to be harassed. That cop needs to have his badge taken from him. Post Traumatic Stress disorder can take a little longer to recognize. Even anxiety brought on by the attack doesn’t always manifest over night. You could go and seek professional help now. I told my shrink about my panic attacks when I see a cop car and he said it was like PTSD but not quite, only because once my case is settled I’ll be ok. You had a gun pulled on you – that’s real trauma. Seek counseling. Then take that police department for all they have. Have you talked to a lawyer at all? If you want to contact me my email is makelley69@live.com. I’d love to see you get justice.

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