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Twitter user Ayanna M. recently shared her experience of having the police wrongfully called on her by who she says is her white roommate because she set the thermostat to 72 degrees.
BACKGROUND STORY:— Ayanna M. (@ayannamnmill) November 9, 2019
So I am SICK, likely coming down with a cold or even the flu. The temperature in Boston is in the 30-40s and my apartment was at about 65 degrees. I turned on the heat to 72 degrees because I was physically shivering.
Ayanna included alleged text messages from her roommate, who Ayanna later identified as Brianna Williams, in her tweet thread. In the messages, Williams wrote that she has “no real want or need of the heater until it reaches lower temperatures” since she has a “fan” that can emit heat.
Ayanna said that the temperature outside was around 35 degrees, and her apartment was at around 65 degrees. Ayanna also said that she was sick at the time, so she “turned on the heat to 72 degrees because I was physically shivering.”
In the messages, Williams then asked for a “lower proportional share in the heating bill” if the other roommates insisted on having the heater on, as she doesn’t “have much need for it until the snow gets here.”
Ayanna opposed Williams’ request for a lower proportional share in the heating bill because the gas bill is based on the “stove, oven, hot water, and heat,” and her use of a heater fan would also “warrant an increase in your proportion of the electric bill.”
Williams responded by telling Ayanna that she resorted to “bullying tactics.”
“This isn’t the first time she has called me a bully or used other Microaggresive terms against me,” Ayanna wrote in the thread.
The women then went back-and-forth, turning on and off the heater.
“So I turn the heat back on. She turns it off. I turn it on. She turns it off. I turn it on and she turns it off,” Ayanna wrote. “Wouldn’t the right thing to do had been to just ask me if I still needed the heat? If I minded lowering it a bit? But no, micro aggressions.”
She then posted a video of Williams yelling.
“YALL THIS GIRL COMES IN THE APARTMENT YELLING. TELLING ME TO COME OUT OF MY ROOM. SHE IS TAUNTING ME, THREATNING ME ETC. AT THIS POINT IM ON THE PHONE WITH MY MOM SO I HADN’T STARTED RECORDING YET,” Ayanna tweeted.
YALL THIS GIRL COMES IN THE APARTMENT YELLING. TELLING ME TO COME OUT OF MY ROOM. SHE IS TAUNTING ME, THREATNING ME ETC. AT THIS POINT IM ON THE PHONE WITH MY MOM SO I HADN’T STARTED RECORDING YET. BUT IN THIS VIDEO YOU CAN CLEARLY HERE HER OUTSIDE MY DOOR YELLING pic.twitter.com/DZ2j17C1Yn— Ayanna M. (@ayannamnmill) November 9, 2019
Ayanna then states that even though she thought the situation was resolved, the police showed up outside her door, at the behest of Williams.
“DO YALL KNOW HOW SCARED I WAS WHEN I SAW THE POLICE? NOT BECAUSE I DID ANYTHING WRONG BUT BECAUSE I AM A LARGER SIZED, LOUD BLACK WOMAN. IVE SEEN TOO MANY WOMAN WHO LOOK LIKE ME HAVE VIOLENCE USED AGAINST THEM FOR LESS,” she tweeted.
So the argument ends, which I have a recording of where you can clearly hear that I never posed any kind of threat to her...fast forward BOOM THE COPS ARE HERE— Ayanna M. (@ayannamnmill) November 9, 2019
Ayanna claimed Williams intentionally called the police and played the victim, even though Williams was the aggressor.
“Thankfully for me, the officers agreed this was a dumb issue to have called the cops over,” she tweeted. “They spoke to me, heard my side of the story and admitted it was pretty cold in the apartment. Stated they had to come speak to me for record since they were called.”
DO YALL KNOW HOW SCARED I WAS WHEN I SAW THE POLICE? NOT BECAUSE I DID ANYTHING WRONG BUT BECAUSE I AM A LARGER SIZED, LOUD BLACK WOMAN. IVE SEEN TOO MANY WOMAN WHO LOOK LIKE ME HAVE VIOLENCE USED AGAINST THEM FOR LESS— Ayanna M. (@ayannamnmill) November 9, 2019
Thankfully for me, the officers agreed this was a dumb issue to have called the cops over. They spoke to me, heard my side of the story and admitted it was pretty cold in the apartment. Stated they had to come speak to me for record since they were called— Ayanna M. (@ayannamnmill) November 9, 2019
Ayanna, a current doctoral criminal justice student, states the purpose of her sharing her experience is to further publicize the extent of the now-common use of the police by white women.
Update 7:50am CT, Nov. 16: Despite Ayanna claiming that Williams is a white woman, Williams told the Daily Dot that “I am as black as I am white, and I identify as a woman of color.”
“Only after I was threatened again, and feared for my safety, did I call the police,” Williams said.
Similar incidents have gone viral showing white women calling the police for very trivial or nonexistent offenses. Twitter usually shames these women by branding them with hilarious monikers.
Unfortunately, the seriousness of this was not lost on Ayanna. Black people have a long-standing history of fatal interactions with the police. Recently, Atatiana Jefferson was fatally shot by a Texas police officer who was supposed to be performing a wellness check on her.
“DID A BLACK WOMAN NOT JUST RECENTLY GET SHOT IN HER HOME DURING A WELLNESS CHECK? SHE INTENTIONALLY PUT MY LIFE AT RISK,” Ayanna wrote.
Twitter quickly came to Ayanna’s defense, offering support and advice.
1: I hope you’re feeling better. 2: I’m sorry this has happened & I hope a positive change is in the works. 3: I’m so proud of how you’re handling this. Be very precautious of yourself & all belongs from this point forward. pic.twitter.com/cXbz53BliT— MuvaSunflower•˙˙❥ (@TinyTootiee) November 10, 2019
Twitter user @inallsimplicity believes that the roommate should be held accountable for her actions and even shared the dean’s information at the Suffolk Law School, which is the school she allegedly attends.
We recently saw in the case of #AtatianaJefferson how tragically a situation can end when police are involved. 1L student Brianna Williams' misuse of the law to retaliate against Ayanna for a disagreement over heat was an explicit act of violence @Suffolk_Law @Andrew_Perlman— The Female Huey (@inallsimplicity) November 9, 2019
Brianna Williams, a 1L law student at @Suffolk_Law put the life of my friend in danger by calling the police to their apartment under false pretenses. The dean of the law school is @Andrew_Perlman the former Chief Reporter of the ABA Commision on Ethics. https://t.co/YVryyMN8co pic.twitter.com/ITklluPGHO— The Female Huey (@inallsimplicity) November 9, 2019
Ayanna thanked her followers for their support and wrote that she will post a follow-up by Tuesday.
Tiffanie Drayton is a geek culture and lifestyle reporter whose work covers everything from gender and race to anime and Xbox. Her work has appeared in Complex, Salon, Marie Claire, Playboy, and elsewhere.