A Brooklyn grandmother says she’s traumatized as a result of a recent incident in which a dozen New York Police Department officers forcibly removed her from her apartment while she was half-naked.
The New York Daily News has obtained video footage of the ordeal recorded by a neighbor of the woman, 48-year-old Denise Stewart of Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood, who spent nearly two-and-a-half minutes in the hallway outside of her apartment last month, topless, while the NYPD responded to a 911 call in the building.
According to the Daily News, around 12 cops showed up at Stewart’s apartment building just before midnight on July 13 after a neighbor called the police to report what they believed to be a domestic disturbance occurring in an unknown residence. As the cops walked through the building, they came upon loud noises from Stewart’s unit and soon demanded entry.
Stewart “cracked the door wearing only a towel wrapped around her body and underpants — and was yanked into the hallway by cops over the screams of her family and neighbors,” the paper reported last Friday.
At that point a scuffle between Stewart and the police began to ensue as they forced themselves into her apartment, during which the woman’s towel was misplaced, leaving her in only her underwear as a barrage of cops attempted to place her in handcuffs.
“Yo, her mother got asthma ...y’all wicked, y’all fucking wicked,” one eyewitness is heard yelling in the Daily News-obtained clip. “Her asthma! Her asthma! Her asthma,” screams another.
Police say that, after entering the residence, Stewart’s 12-year-old daughter appeared to show “visible injuries” to her face and, according to the paper, told the police that her mother and an older sister had beat her with a belt.
This week, a local CBS News affiliate reported that police then tried to arrest Stewart, but multiple family members attempted to interfere. According to WCBS 880, Stewart and the 12-year-old daughter were each arrested on charges of assaulting an officer, and two of the woman’s grown children were also charged with resisting arrest.
“She’s still feeling a little traumatized about everything that happened because what they did to her was wrong,” one of the woman’s sons, Magic Stewart, told the CBS station.
“Ms. Stewart is a respected member of her community and she committed absolutely no crime. These officers conducted themselves in a deplorable manner. They pepper sprayed her four year old grandson and a male officer punched her twelve year old daughter, the same twelve year old they claim they were there to protect,” the woman’s attorney, Amy Rameau, told WCBS 880. “What these officers did exemplifies not only a disrespect for women in general but a disrespect for women of color in particular because of a general disrespect for communities of color. The recent murder of Mr. Eric Garner is but an example of the same disrespect for communities of color. There has to be some remedy for this kind of police misconduct. These officers are discriminating against communities of color and they are doing it under color of law.”
According to the Daily News, Rameau said that the 911 call that police were responding to involved a different residence in the same apartment building, and that they entered Stewart’s unit by mistake.