Black Herstory Part 1: Las Vegas' First Black Woman
What inspires a Black Person in America to want to challenge these predominantly white work forces, organizations, and companies? What motivates a Black Woman or Man to stay the course even when adversity strikes at every angle? These are the questions. There are heroes who's stories don’t make it to the mainstream and I’m grateful to have had direct experience with a Black Hero.
My single Mother, Juanita Goode, is the epitome of fearlessness. She’s an unstoppable Aquarius, birthed from love, courageousness, determination, and brilliance, from Portsmouth, Virginia. Juanita Goodes decision to become a police officer in Las Vegas in 1992 was just a gradual evolution from being a military police officer in the U.S. Air Force. Government jobs were heavily emphasized on people, especially for most Black people by their families, during that time. Juanita was the only Black Woman in her class during her training at the police academy. Her innate determination to be successful and the natural Power of being a Black Woman, would be the driving force in her professional journey from the Air Force to being the First Black Woman Police Lieutenant on Las Vegas’ Metropolitan Police Department.
The Undercover Prostitute Scandal
The first attack happened in 1993 to a young 24 year old Officer Goode. She was asked to do overtime gigs as an undercover VICE prostitute. During one of the gigs, she was standing on the corner as a trick. There was only 3 Black Women on the agency at the time and Sergeant Golden Boy Pervert didn’t know about any of them. Juanita is the Queen of creating the aka, the also known as nicknames for people she isn’t fond of. So Sergeant Golden Boy Pervert was also undercover during this gig and pulls up to that corner and decides to get really under cover. He follows Officer Goode back to the hotel, thinking that she’s a real hooker and he sits on the bed exoecting to be "serviced". She was undercover as a cop and she did not know he was a cop undercover as a pervert. She follows the hooker handbook and asks him if he’s a cop and The Pervert says no, then she goes to the bathroom to go get “cleaned up.” The future sheriff who was working the streets with his squad, the Vice Lieutenant, and a couple of other officers, were all piled into that hotel bathroom with their mouths wide open, shocked, awed, and pissed to discover that it was their own guy! They didn’t arrest him though, the superiors on the scene just told Sergeant Golden Boy Pervert to have his LT (Lieutenant) call them. Obviously, that’s not what’s considered normal pervert procedure.
Officer Goodes chain of command was Sergeant Dennis Thompson, Lieutenant Brad Simpson, and Captain Ron Nieman, the later being the person who really despised her. However, they didn't call her into the office as a witness or to check on her after her experience. They called her into the office to reprimand her, unofficially write her up, saying she didn’t know what she was doing, and to tell her she couldn’t do any more reverse sting operations. Then they immediately got rid of her and transferred her to the airport police detail. Sergeant Golden Boy was untouchable and in their eyes, Officer Goode was disposable. Shortly after, while at the airport police substation, Golden Boy Pervert and Officer Goode cross paths. He had just returned from an undercover mission with his team and when he saw Officer Goode, he was gloating with his body language, as if to say, now you see how we roll in the police department. Officer Goode takes note of how this incident played out and recovers from this craziness and makes her next move. She decides to return to Vice for a 90 day temporary duty assignment Detective position. During that time, karma shows up for what would be a recurring appearance. Sergeant Pervert gets caught near downtown Las Vegas completely naked in the bushes and is reported via his undercover detective license plate number. However, instead of punishing the pervert the way they should have, they had a secret white meeting and he quietly resigns. What was unusual, was that they never called Officer Goode into the office to talk about her incident with the pervert. They completely swept the white males deviance under the rug, a common white workplace practice. The only thing that changed was her chain of commands behavior, in which they were slightly nicer to her.
After the first attack, Juanita knew in order to be successful in the racist police system, she needed to defeat their system, circumvent their barriers, and get promoted. She created goals to be smarter, be progressive, be active, and be the best. As an officer preparing for promotion to Sergeant, Juanita says if she had a nickel for how many white men would ask her such inane and ridiculous questions, she probably could have left the department right then and would have been rich. Dumb ass questions, with a negative undertone like: why did she you want to get promoted? Why did she want to work the streets and not the jail? Why did she want to go to college? As she reflects on her experience, she recalls believing she thought that they wanted Black people to succeed. Juanita would wonder why they didn’t treat her with the same camaraderie as the other guys. The racist realization hit her that the police system aka predominantly white men, really hated the fact that she was a Black Woman in their club. Hated because she wanted to be more then what patriarchal society believes is the typical submissive, weak Woman, especially Black Woman, in the workplace just trying to scrape by.
Juanita's journey to success in a racist organization wasn’t the easiest, but true Warriors always get the more challenging experiences. Juanita’s second internal workplace attack came in the form of education discrimination. In fact, this attack happened right after she was one of only two Black Women promoted to Sergeant and being number 15 on the list. She was also in the process of completing her Bachelors Degree in Business Administration at the time of her promotion which was in 1998. The racist police system tried to prevent her from obtaining her bachelors degree by withholding tuition reimbursement. Newly promoted Sergeant Goode submitted her paperwork for the reimbursement, which had to go through her Lieutenant, who then submitted it to Captain Mike Medina, the meddler in charge of training at the police department. This had to have been the first time he had ever seen a Black Woman’s paperwork come across his desk because it vexed him to the point that he immediately tried to create a scandal about it. It was as if he was mad and bamboozled that she had the audacity to want to get promoted and be educated.
At the beginning, superiors in the department had an issue with anyone other then white, climbing the exclusive boss ladders. Jim Moses’ aka LT Steroids, was so disturbed and frightened about Sergeants Goode education efforts, that he decides to abuse his power by getting his friend in the District Attorneys office to subpoena the grand jury to delve into Sergeant Goode’s education history. I mean, there’s so many things a Lieutenant can be doing and he chooses to take the sinister route and inquire about a Black Woman's education. Upon discovery of this, she immediately contacts her attorney, who calls the grand jury to tell them that they were at risk of being sued because they were involved in blatant discrimination & collusion. The Grand Jury dropped everything. However, Sergeant Goode went 2 years without being reimbursed because during those 2 years, since LT Steroids scandal did not prevail, the establishment did what they do best: create new, restrictive rules. Suddenly, the education reimbursement program says you won’t be reimbursed if you already have student loans. Captain Meddling Medina was directly in charge of the creation of this preventative rule. Is this what happens when the Black Woman starts taking advantage of her opportunities? The policy was never solidified. Captain Medina was removed from the training department because he was using the office as a way to study, eventually fail the bar exam repeatedly, and meddle in the wrong business.
Divine perfect timing put her in alignment with Todd Richter who had just received his reimbursement and he suggested that she write to the new officer in charge of training, Captain Schofield. Two weeks later, without any drama, she received her check. Juanita contacted LT Steroids to tell him the wonderful news. He wasn’t happy, but she was and she continued to make gains. When Juanita acquired those Sergeant stripes and that degree, they knew the threat of the powerful Black Woman was becoming real.
When this Black Woman decided to gain even more power, that’s when all hell broke loose. Juanita had never been disciplined in the Air Force, she had never been disciplined as an Officer, and she had never been disciplined as a Sergeant. She tested for Lieutenant in 2001 and not only was Juanita the only Black Woman on the list, but she was number TWO on that bad boy. She was coming and the predominantly white police organization were convinced that she was coming for them.
I remember the Red Headed Bastard aka Captain Tom Conlin and Juanita recalls that this guy was very interesting. Oh he couldn’t wait to undermine her. He would break the chain of command and call her sergeants directly, versus coming to the Lieutenant. He was shocked and appalled when he realized her team was loyal to her because of her leadership style and their camaraderie. They would always have her back and Juanita recalls one powerful moment where the Red Headed Bastard called one of her sergeants to ask him something about her while the sergeant was in right in front of her and her Sergeant responded, “Well she’s right here,” and handed his Lieutenant the phone.
Captain Conlins first assault on my Mother was during a meeting between the two. One of her disgruntled sergeants, Bill Reed, had made frivolous complaints about her and The Red Headed Bastard wanted to have a discussion about it. At some point, Juanita decides to discuss more significant issues, such as her upcoming evaluation. When innately racist white men feel outsmarted, dismissed, disregarded, powerless and they become threatened by those things, they immediately advance to physical violence. Period. During this meeting, Conlin was becoming more white and more belligerent. Before Lil' Duval recently reminded us not to go back and forth with these bitches, Lieutenant Goode was already about that life. She decided to remove herself from the situation and Captain Conlin did what those types of white boys do best, let that white rage and violence take control. He grabbed Lieutenant Goode and put her in a standing arm bar.
I would always greet my Mother when she would come home from work and I remember her coming home that night extremely distraught. Instead of our normal end of day conversation, she went straight to her room. Following that traumatizing incident, she tried to file a complaint. She gave her statement to 3 different high ranking officials, she volunteered to take a polygraph in which she passed with flying colors, and she even contacted the internal affairs bureau (IAB) herself about the attack and absolutely nothing happened. They did nothing to Captain Red Headed Bastard about her attack and she still had to work with him. Every witch-hunt and attack was getting worse and again, nothing official happened to the attacker.
Bill Reeds Obsession
Remember Bill Reed from earlier? I know the name sounds as racist as a Senator who wears Blackface. Well Bill Reeds white hot rage exposed itself in a plethora of evil ways. It turns out that Bill Reed was number 13 on the same Lieutenants list that Juanita was number 2 on and he was her subordinate. I guess that really started to boil his white blood. Juanita recalls that he was one of the dumbest people she’d ever met and he actually came from a long line of racists that tried to destroy Black peoples career. Bill Reeds father tried to accuse the first Black Male sergeant, Sergeant Bolden, of cheating on the sergeants exam, which turned out to be a white lie. Bill followed in his Fathers footsteps of being a racist hater and he started to scratch his empty head about Lieutenant Goodes legendary promotion. He was astonished! Flabbergasted even. I guess he could have chosen to discover where he went wrong in his promotion, but instead Billy says to himself, “Fuck this. I’m going to break into my boss’s email to figure this shit out.” What the white devil discovered was an email Juanita had written, lightly venting to her brother about the ignorant Captain Conlin, in which she identifies him as The Red Headed Bastard.
The Internal Affairs investigator at the time, Keith Carter, calls the LT, questioning her about what she wrote in the stolen emails versus discovering who invaded her privacy. As you can see, they were mostly a bunch of idiots and Bill was on a rampage. He was also sabotaging Lieutenant Goode by logging her out of the watch commander log during the email break-ins, wickedly watching her frustrations as she would call IT for help. The Watch commander was in charge of watching over the entire Las Vegas valley. If anything major happened, the commander on duty would need to call for resources, coordinate with other leaders and/or other police agencies, talk to the media in the event of a major issue, and pretty much do anything to ensure the safety of the people. She had been logged out 3 times and being logged out of the watch commander system, disabled her to perform watch commander duties. Bill Reeds racism literally left the people of Las Vegas at risk. Thank goodness for the President of the Black Police Association, Deputy Chief Cliff Davis. He had a history of not giving a damn about the politics either and that was how that case was thrown out. A brief investigation revealed that this was another racist sabotage. During the investigation, when Reed was asked why he did it, his response was because he felt like Lieutenant was giving him a hard time. Bill Reed was fired in what was the first official punishment of one of Juanita Goodes attackers. Bill moved back to Montana.
There is so much more to this story, so be ready for the explosive conclusion in Part 2 on Friday.