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Wednesday, July 2, 2003 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | NEXT: Another New York Times Scandal? Officers Say...

Two African-American New Yorkers Die Following Recent NYPD Raids

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A month ago Alberta Spruill suffered a heart attack and died after the police kicked down her door and tossed a flash grenade into her apartment. On Saturday a Brooklyn man died 10 days after suffering a heart attack after police raided his house. We talk to other victims of police raids and Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields.

A Brooklyn man died Saturday 10 days after suffering a heart attack after police raided his house. Calvin Washington, who had a history of heart trouble, died of cardiac arrest while in hospital. He was 41 years-old.

His widow, Yvonne Washington, accused police officers of causing his death by storming into the family’s Bedford-Stuyvesant home. The police were pursuing their son Taheem Washington.

On June 18th, 40 uniformed and plainclothes officers broke down the door to their house while Yvonne was making dinner. The Amsterdam News reported Yvonne as saying that the police did not explain why they had invaded the house. When she insisted, an officer grabbed her and another officer knocked her baby down.

Calvin, who had a history of heart trouble, was in the bedroom attached to his defibrillator. Yvonne screamed at the officers that her husband needed help, but they did not respond.

Meanwhile, as police rushed up the stairs to the second floor they crushed one of the Washingtons’ nine cats, killing it, and severely injured another. Afraid for her husband’s condition Yvonne eventually dialed 911–in effect calling the police on the police.

Calvin was taken to hospital in an ambulance and died 10 days later.

The incident comes in a spate of mistaken police raids in New York. A little more than a month ago, Alberta Spruill suffered a heart attack and died after the police kicked down her door and tossed a flash grenade into her apartment.

Today on Democracy Now! we’re going hear about some other police raids.

  • Timothy Brockman, a 68-year-old former marine and retired factory worker who lives in the northeast Bronx. His house was raided by police on May 14th. Officers broke down the door and threw a stun a grenade, lighting his carpet on fire.
  • Amerite Espady, mother of 12-year old daughter Jennifer who was at home alone getting ready for school when the apartment was raided by the NYPD on May 22nd. They put her on the ground and held guns to her head and handcuffed her. Jennifer was traumatized by the incident and is seeing a therapist.
  • Virginia Fields, Manhattan Borough President. Her office has set up a hotline for victims of police raids: 1-800-728-1550

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