Last month, reality stars Yandy Smith and Porsha Williams were arrested while protesting the police killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. Now Smith is coming forward to call out the ‘inhumane conditions’ that she says she was subjected to while in custody.
The march began at the Louisville Metro Police Department training facility but once they got to the Denny Crum Overpass, they were stopped for obstructing traffic.
“We were sitting right next to each other with locked arms,” Smith told Page Six of what took place on Aug. 25 when she and Williams were approached by officers in riot gear. “And we were both so afraid, but so empowered and feeling courageous.”
The two women were joined by 60 other demonstrators as part of a peaceful Day of Action march organized by Tamika Mallory’s social justice group Until Freedom.
The Love & Hip Hop star says although organizers made sure protestors remained non-violent and non-confrontational as they walked toward the bridge, she alleged that the officers still chose to “aggressively” push the peaceful crowd, which lead to growing tension.
Smith says she and the other protestors were placed in plastic handcuffs and made to sit on a curb in the 98-degree heat for approximately two hours as they waited to be processed. Eventually, they were crammed into paddy wagons and transported to a nearby prison facility.
“A lot of us were claustrophobic,” she said, noting that some had to remove their COVID-19 face masks because, “When you’re in that van, it was so incredibly hot you would not be able to survive with your mask on.”
Smith had a phone hidden in her pants pocket that helped her leak footage on social media, but ultimately she said she had to turn it in during the search.
“I wanted to document as much as possible what was happening so people could see we are peacefully protesting while the murderers of this young woman are going to work,” she said. “They’re living their lives on vacations, while us that are trying to get justice for her and are not breaking the law are getting arrested.”
“The amount of humiliation is crazy,” she said of the facility where 40 women had to share one toilet. “The bathroom is just completely disgusting, like feces on the toilet. Feces on the floor. You would think there was a puddle of water, but it was urine.”
Smith also claimed protestors were informed there was a recent bed bug outbreak, which made them hesitant to touch the blankets provided.
“If we touched it, we could be possibly bringing it back to our home,” she said. “I don’t want to even take the risk of infecting my children because of the inhumane conditions that’s going on there right now.”
But despite it all, Smith said that the group banded together to keep each other’s spirits high by singing songs to uplift one another.
“We took care of each other,” she concluded of the ordeal. “We laid on each other’s laps. I initiated a charades game. It was truly a moment of let’s create peace. Let’s create a unified sisterhood that’s going to keep everyone calm.”
Smith also made allegations that proper COVID-19 measures weren’t taken, noting, “They make you take off your mask to process you, so you’re talking to these officers — some of them have on masks, many of them did not.”
In response, the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections told Page Six in a statement, “Officers must wear a mask. Everyone booked gets a mask. There is no shortage. Everyone is screened for COVID-19 to include symptom check and a temperature check.”
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