“Get up, get, get, get down / 911 is a joke in your town!”
This vintage hit by Public Enemy’s, Flava Flav, is a half-playful record that proved to be 100 percent serious as reports were made public detailing how the NYPD ignored emergency calls leading to the homicide of 22-year-old Tonie Wells.
The New York Daily News reports that an hour before Wells’ was strangled to death by her husband, Barry, someone called 911 claiming they heard the Brooklyn mother scream “He’s going to kill me!” And although two NYPD police officers, Wing Hong Lau and Wael Jaber, responded to the call, they never got out the patrol car. In fact, it wasn’t until 911 received a second call about a crying baby that officers decided to investigate further, entering Wells’ Crown Heights home only to find her lifeless body.
This news follows the city’s medical examiner officially ruling Wells’ death as a homicide, yet Barry – who is being held at Riker’s Island without bail – has yet to be formally charged with murder as he is awaiting a psychological evaluation.
With Hollywood erupting with rape/harassment and the NYPD’s failure to properly handle the events leading to Wells’ death, many are wondering what the country can do to protect its women. According to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 5 women are raped in their lifetime and women between 18-24 (Wells was 22) are the highest victims of domestic violence.
Because of these staggering statistics, it's important that stories like the assaults in Hollywood and the murder of Wells are publicized in ways that combat the numbers. And if people like Tonie Wells are properly martyrized, then maybe women can gain a certain empathy that might prevent them from being viewed as just as trivial as Flava Flav sees 911.