Woman Stepped Into Confrontation With Police And Helped Save This Homeless Man’s Life

Sometimes people just need someone to look out for them. That was the case for Anthony, a homeless black man in Washington, D.C. Anthony was getting arrested when a kind and compassionate woman named Grace stopped her car and got out in order to make sure he was safe.

A police officer was yelling at Anthony to get down; the officer already had his gun drawn and aimed. Grace decided that she was going to film the arrest, to make sure everything stayed under control. And by doing so, she very well may have saved Anthony’s life. There’s no way of knowing, but given just how many black men have been shot and killed while dealing with law enforcement, there’s a pretty good chance.

Grace tweeted the video along with the words, “I literally think I just saved someone’s life… I’m shaking y’all…” and the tweet went viral, garnering over 66,000 retweets within a day.

In the video, the cop had his gun trained on Anthony, while Anthony asked Ms. McKinnon, “You see him trying to shoot me? I ain’t done nothing to nobody.”

Just about in tears, Anthony asked Grace if she saw him sleeping. He explained, “I had that knife in my possession, but I’m out here.” He was on his own, living in the streets, and just needed the knife for protection.

Another police officer arrived as Anthony tried to explain that he didn’t have any other weapons on him. Meanwhile, the first police officer was still yelling for Anthony to get down. At this point, Ms. McKinnon stepped in and told Anthony to get on the ground. “This is not worth dying for,” she implored. “They’re killing us out here.”

Anthony did get on the ground and complied with the cops’ orders to turn over onto his stomach and put his hands behind his back. At that point in the video, you can see Ms. McKinnon’s hand reach out and squeeze his arm reassuringly.

Not only did Ms. McKinnon help Anthony during the arrest, but she also started a GoFundMe for him.

Here’s a video of Anthony from when he was interviewed in March by the Invisible Project. He explained that he’d been homeless for about two years, since his mother had died of colon cancer. He hopes to open an orphanage one day.

Journalist Luke O’Neil spoke to Grace about her decision to help Anthony out during the arrest. She told him that she was coming back from a hospital visit (she’s a social worker) and she saw Anthony (who she did not know) in the street, “really crying out for help.” She also saw the officer with his gun. “At that moment I knew I had to stop. Any compassionate, sensitive human being would,” she said.

She added,

“He finally got on the ground and threw his hands up and started crying. I was trying to hold it together in the moment because we both couldn’t be crying.  After that was kind of a blur. I almost saw someone die. To be able to be in that space at that time. I’m deeply thankful I was there to help and intervene. I’m thankful he’s alive and I’m alive.”

h/t Luke O’Neil


Written by Dean Altman

Dean Altman is a writer living in NYC.