Krista Vernoff said she was inspired to share her story after learning about the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks

By Jodi Guglielmi
June 16, 2020 12:02 PM
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Credit: Phillip Faraone/FilmMagic

Krista Vernoff is exposing her own white privilege in an effort to help initiate change.

In a now-viral Twitter thread, the Grey's Anatomy showrunner recalled the countless times she was let off with a warning by police and "allowed to survive" after committing a crime.

"When I was 15, I was chased through a mall by police who were yelling 'Stop thief!' I had thousands of dollars of stolen merchandise on me," she wrote on Twitter. "I was caught, booked, sentenced to 6 months of probation, required to see a parole officer weekly. I was never even handcuffed."

In another instance, Vernoff, 46, said she was pulled over while drunk driving, only to have the officer allegedly accept her excuse to not take a breathalyzer and let her off with "just a verbal warning."

"I pretended to have asthma and insisted I couldn’t blow hard enough to get a reading," she wrote. "The officer laughed then asked my friends to blow and when one of them came up sober enough to drive, he let me move to the passenger seat of my car and go home with just a verbal warning."

She also recounted two separate occasions when she became physical with another person. In one instance, the cops were never called and in the other, the police officer who witnessed the altercation allegedly laughed and sent her home.

"The cop pulled me aside and said, 'You don’t punch people in front of cops,' then laughed and said that if I ever joined the police force he’d like to have me as a partner," she wrote. "I was sent into my apartment and told to stay there."

Despite her run-ins with the law, Vernoff said she has no criminal record.

Vernoff said she was inspired to share her story after learning about the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks, who was shot during a struggle with Atlanta police after he was found sleeping in his car in the drive-thru lane of a Wendy's, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is conducting an independent investigation into the shooting.

"If I had been shot in the back by police after the shoplifting incident - in which I knowingly and willfully and soberly and in broad daylight RAN FROM THE COPS – would you say I deserved it?" she asked.

She urged her followers to examine their "mistakes" and whether or not the outcome would have been different if they were Black.

"Defunding the police is not about 'living in a lawless society.' It’s about the fact that in this country, we’re not supposed to get shot by police for getting drunk," she concluded. "The system that lets me live and murders Rayshard Brooks is a broken system that must change. Stop defending it. Demand the change."

Ava DuVernay praised Vernoff for opening up about her past, writing, "This is a white woman talking honestly about her experiences and its one of the best threads on the criminalization of Black people that I’ve read lately."

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
  • ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
  • National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.