Yibi Heras was standing at the sink of her modest East Oakland home one early morning in February when she noticed some cars driving slowly past. The neighbors raise chickens and ducks, which sometimes escape the yard. She figured the cars were slowing down for animals in the road.
A few minutes later, she saw seven men standing in front of her house, and just after that, she heard a knock on a kitchen window next to her refrigerator. Her partner, Maguiber Ramos, had just gotten into bed, having returned around 4 a.m. from his job cleaning restaurants.
“I got scared,” Heras told me Thursday morning. “I thought it was a gang or robbers.”
We sat in her kitchen, as two of...