Two Black mothers, India Johnson, 26, and Yasmeen Winston, 25, are demanding justice after being wrongfully accosted by the Secret Service while enjoying a relaxing day out with their two infant children.
Johnson and Winston were visiting Washington D.C.'s World War II memorial to take a swim in the fountains with their children.
After taking a dip, the pair were digging through diaper bags in their parked car when a Secret Service vehicle slammed into their bumper, frightening the children and taking the mothers by surprise.
After Secret Service barreled into two young mothers in a car, they lied to her and told her the car had been repor… https://t.co/BsBCQBvhWB— Joe Quinn (@Joe Quinn)1596550121.0
This is a clear example of how trump has trashed & made worse the credibility of almost all factions of protective… https://t.co/Gd2owT7wI9— 20PearlGirl57 (@20PearlGirl57)1596539743.0
According to Johnson and Winston, they faced an intense ordeal over the next hour.
The officers, not wearing masks at first, had them handcuffed and separated from their children, who cried in the back of their open-doored car.
Both women feared they might be shot and killed despite having done nothing wrong.
"I could have been another Breonna Taylor. I could have been another innocent woman who has no record and got shot."
Being mothers while black....... https://t.co/PtQgFOiB08— Gregory Short (@Gregory Short)1596547659.0
Their attorney, Timothy Maloney, wrote in an open letter to Secret Service Director James Murray:
"This incident took place near our national monuments across from the White House."
"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?"
Secret Service officers reportedly drove their cruiser into 26-year-old India Johnson’s car, hitting her bumper, th… https://t.co/6RUbuC2oGi— The Cut (@The Cut)1596554503.0
At first, officers told the mothers that their vehicle had been reported stolen and the suspects were two Black men.
Johnson provided proof of her ownership of the vehicle, saying she had filed no such report.
The women also noted there were no Black men present in their party.
Many Black women experience police violence and harassment with their children present. My heart breaks for these m… https://t.co/t5z6mPlZEs— Shelly Clevenger (@Shelly Clevenger)1596495806.0
The women were released an hour or so later, with no apology or explanation offered. Before they parted ways, however, Winston was sure to collect the names and badge numbers of every officer present.
She later commented:
"I had to stay strong, somebody had to be strong. I wanted to cry, but I'm not going to let them see me cry."
"The fact that our kids had to witness this? Nobody wants to introduce their kids to this."
This would not have been done to two white mothers, again Black women are mistreated and I’ve yet to see this story… https://t.co/x7eoj5JBZY— Kimi (@Kimi)1596554437.0
In his letter to Murray, Maloney wrote:
"These were two young African American mothers with their babies sitting lawfully in a car with D.C. tags."
"Can the Secret Service honestly say it would have treated White out-of-town tourists and their babies, sitting there without District tags, the same way?"
The violence that those Black mothers and their children were exposed to is beyond calls for a suspension of those… https://t.co/snkPot4hLp— Anna Ortega-Williams (@Anna Ortega-Williams)1596545964.0
The Secret Service commented it is "looking into the matter" and "has no further comment at this time."
Two Black women. Two Black Mothers. Touring the WWII Memorial. Their car rammed. Assaulted, and arrested by the Sec… https://t.co/mwbrnhv3kr— Josh Freed (@Josh Freed)1596500405.0
Maloney says he is prepared to push for a Congressional inquiry if the Secret Service isn't forthcoming in their investigations.
Both mothers are now coping with the trauma of their encounter.
"We don't get in trouble. Nothing like this has ever happened to us."
"I thought the police was here to serve and protect us, and now it's really uncomfortable."