Secret Service Detained Black Women At Gunpoint
Two African American women in Washington D.C., say the Secret Service unlawfully detained them near the White House by ramming their vehicle, then handcuffing them, while leaving their babies without adult supervision.
In the incident last Thursday (July 29), India Johnson, 26, and Yasmeen Winston, 25 say they were sitting in their car and were about to take the children to the fountains at the National Mall when a marked Secret Service vehicle hit the driver’s side of the Ford Focus in which they were sitting.
According to The Washington Post, the two women say they were surrounded by the officers, who pointed weapons at them and the children, and were ordered out of the car “one by one.” When they were handcuffed, their babies, aged six months and one year, were left unattended.
The officers told them that the car had been reported stolen and that they were searching for two Black men in connection. Johnson said she had never reported the car stolen. They were taken to Howard University Hospital, examined and released, CNN reported.
Both women say they still have no idea why they were targeted by the officers.
“This incident took place near our national monuments across from the White House,” the women’s attorney, Timothy Maloney, wrote in a letter to Secret Service Director James Murray, demanding an investigation. “It occurred after eight weeks of unprecedented national demonstrations about excessive police conduct, some of which took place right there on Constitution Avenue. Has the Secret Service learned nothing this summer?”
A Secret Service spokesperson confirmed to the Post that the agency had received a request for an investigation into the incident. It is “looking into the matter,” the spokesperson said and had no further comment.
But one of the women, Yasmeen Winston, said what happened to her brought her greatest fear to the forefront.
“I could have been another Breonna Taylor,” Winston told the Post. “I could have been another innocent woman who has no record and got shot.”