Warning: ACS’s Gangster Tactics

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A Manhattan woman says she is the victim of abuse and harassment by caseworkers from the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), which is reeling from the Nixzmary Brown murder by overreacting to reports of abuse, including what she says are false ones about her son. The false charges came as retaliation from a doctor who feared she was going to file a complaint against her, the woman says.

Ever since the murder of seven-year-old Brown by her mother and stepfather January 11th 2006. Since then, ACS has endured a barrage of critical media reports, governmental investigations and denunciations by elected officials for neglecting the welfare of children. In turn, Rozalyn Williams says, ACS has resorted to gangsterism in dealing with her.

Recently Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that ACS, the New York Police Department and the Board of Education will now work closely to better monitor children believed to be at risk. “ACS basically broke into my home with more than 14 cops based on false charges filed by a doctor,� the woman, Williams says. “The police didn’t have a warrant for this break in—I didn’t know that the police were in the business of enforcing unsolicited doctor appointments.�

Williams says following her refusal to have her son examined by a doctor whom she says had “dirty� hands, the doctor, Dr. Jeannie Samedi, filed a false report to ACS to pre-empt her from filing her own complaints. What followed was a series of unannounced visits to her home by ACS employees accompanied by housing police, Williams says. Her 15-year-old was eventually seized from her after ACS case worker Adel Benjamin and police broke into her apartment on February 3, 2006, she says. ACS even went as far as convincing police to change the locks of her apartment on February 9, 2006, Williams, who has since filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the doctor, ACS, family court judges and various legal aid lawyers, says. Several calls by The Black Star News to ACS case workers and the ACS attorney prosecuting the case, Kathleen Wolters, weren’t returned. An ACS spokesperson, Sheila Stainback, citing confidentiality called to say ACS couldn’t answer any question.

Williams says her ordeal started nearly a year ago, on May 10, 2005 when she took her son –The Black Star News is withholding his name—for a physical checkup at Gouverneur Baruch Clinic on the Lower East Side. The boy needed the physical in order to get a summer job with the NYC Housing Authority. At the clinic, Williams says she noticed that Samedi, who was about to examine her son, had dirty fingers and that she objected. She also couldn’t understand why the doctor kept asking her son questions unrelated to the physical—such as how he was performing in school and whether he was already having sexual relations with girls. “When I said his grades are good,� in response to Dr. Samedi’s question to the boy, Williams recalls, “She said ‘I’m not talking to you, I’m speaking with him.’ I said ‘what do his grades have to do with his physical?’ She got up and left the room.�

When Dr. Samedi returned five minutes later, the situation deteriorated, Williams recalls. “This time she asked my son if he was having sex or if he was doing drugs,â€? she says. “I refused to let my son answer those questions. It didn’t have anything to do with the physical.â€? 

Dr. Samedi then told her she needed to examine her son’s genitals and that she would write that the mother refused to cooperate if she refused, Williams says. “I told her that she should write exactly what I said and that if she altered the records with false information it would constitute fraud,� she recalls. Again the doctor left the room; so Williams and her son also went
to the lounge. Ten minutes later, Dr. Samedi called them back into the examining room, she says.

After her son disrobed, Williams says she asked Dr. Samedi to wash her hands just when she was about to touch the boy’s face. “She had a dirty lab coat, her hair looked very unkempt and her fingernails were visibly dirty—she hasn’t wearing gloves,� Williams adds. The doctor continued to rub her hands over her son’s face and throat and Williams says she continued objecting.

The doctor then left and returned with a male and female nurse. The male nurse put on gloves and told Williams to leave. “I said I’m not leaving my son with strangers.� She told her son to get dressed.

Dr. Samedi gave Williams a note addressed “To Whom It May Concern,� stating: “This letter is regarding a patient …He is a fifteen year old male seen by me today for a physical exam.� Williams says she told Dr. Samedi she would file a complaint about her “unsanitary conditions� and “offensive behavior,� she says. “Maybe I should not have done that. You never warn people before you do that,� she adds.

A few days after the encounter with Dr. Samedi, Williams recalls that she received a call one evening. A woman who said she was with ACS wanted to know if she had reached Williams. Since she didn’t know what the ACS woman was calling about, she refused to identify herself, she says. “She said she had a complaint and that she needed to speak to Ms. Williams. I told her she should put the complaint in writing and send it to Ms. Williams and I hung up,� she recalls.

A few days later, Williams says her son called her from school and said he had been pulled from gym class and that an ACS employee, Kevin Richards, was there to see him. Richards, told Williams that she was being investigated for child abuse, she says.

Williams immediately suspected that Dr. Samedi had contacted ACS with false information. Williams asked the health clinic for a copy of her son’s medical records and received them a week later. “I saw that Dr. Samedi had made a number of false entries into the record,� she recalls. “She said my son was asthmatic, which was not true; that he had a heart murmur, which is not true, and that I knew about it and would not allow him to be treated, which was a lie. She also wrote that I refused to allow her to look at my son’s genitals, which was true. She was trying to set me up because she had had a problem with my personality. She was abusing her power as a trusted medical pediatrician.�

Richards and another ACS case worker who handled the case, Adel Benjamin, didn’t return calls from BSN. A source at Gouverneur said Dr. Samedi left the hospital about six months ago and moved to Pennsylvania. No forwarding information could be provided.

Williams says she filed a number of complaints in response to Dr. Samedi’s and Richard’s actions, including to Dr. Samedi’s immediate supervisor, Felix Santiago, director of pediatrics at Gouverneur—Santiago, didn’t return several messages from The Black Star.

Williams also wrote to B.J. Malsan, medical conduct investigator of Office of Professional Medical Conduct, at the City’s Department of Health, to see if there were other complaints against Dr. Samedi, and to John Mattingly, Commissioner of ACS, about any reports that may have come from Dr. Samedi.

On June 1, 2005, Williams received a summons from the ACS’s Richards, accusing her of “child abuse and medical neglect.� ACS accused her of failing feed, clothe, shelter and educate her son. “I was shocked. I wanted to immediately go down and let them know it was a bogus claim,� she recalls. The family court hearing was on June 6, 2005 and William says 14 family members and friends accompanied her. “I was hoping to clear up this crazy matter,� she recalls. “I knew the court would dismiss the claim.� She was wrong.

A court-appointed lawyer, Robert Deadman, met Williams at the hearing. She said she told Deadman that Dr. Samedi was lying. “He said ‘you’re gonna have to do what the court wants you to do,� Ms. Williams recalls. “He said ‘They have a beat to their own drum. There is no due process. Family court doesn’t work like that. If you don’t do what the court tells you to do your son is going to be put in foster home’.�

Williams, who has heart palpitations, says she started hyperventilating and suffered a mild heart attack. “They put me on the EKG machine and took me away,â€? she recalls. She was taken by EMS to New York Downtown Hospital.  Family court proceedings continued without her and custody of her son was granted to her sister, she says. The judge also ordered that Williams’ son be taken back to Dr. Samedi to complete the physical. Ms. Williams suffered a second heart attack related to this incident in October 2005.

Early on the morning of February 3rd 2006, while at home with her son and daughter, Williams says she heard someone trying to open her front door—then several people started kicking on the door, gangster-style. Within minutes, nearly a dozen armed housing police were inside her apartment. The housing police told her that they had a warrant for her arrest to ensure that she appeared in family court that morning. The 14 armed NYCHA police had come complete with a fire truck and ambulance.

One of the Housing Police officers, Williams says, ironically, was Sgt. Pamela Bumpers, daughter of the Eleanor Bumpers, the elderly Black woman who was shot to death when police officers broke down her door and stormed her apartment years ago after she was late with her $96 rent. “I was half dressed,� Williams recalls, adding that she didn’t know there was a hearing scheduled that day. “Even though they came with an ambulance, no one examined my son’s health status because they know he’s fine—instead he was thrown against the gate and frisked.�

Williams says armed police forced her to the family court while her son and 17yr old daughter were driven there in a separate police car.

When contacted by The Black Star, Officer Munge at PSA4, the unit at the 9th precinct from where the officers came to Williams’s apartment from said the commanding officer wasn’t available at the time and that no one else could address the matter.

A spokesperson, Howard Marder, for the NY City Housing Authority said he hadn’t been informed about the break in by police and that he would make further inquiries. “If a murder had occurred or had there been a stabbing incident, I would have been informed,� the spokesman said.

After the forced police break in and when Williams was brought to court, Deadman again told her not to raise any objections, she says. She tried to dismiss Deadman but the judge wouldn’t release him from the case. Deadman agreed to remain mute and not say anything on her behalf. “The whole time I was in the court there were two armed officers standing me or sitting next to me,� she recalls.

Deadman in an interview with The Black Star News says there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with Williams son and that he appeared to be in good health. He says he doesn’t know the whereabouts of Williams and her son and that ACS secured a warrant for their arrest. He adds that he’s baffled by ACS’s aggressive approach towards pursuing Williams’s son. “He’s what, maybe sixteen years old?� Deadman says. “What are they going to do when they get him? Force him to get treatment if he doesn’t want it or need it? Is this how they want to protect him? It seems like what they are doing is endangering his welfare. What if, God forbids, he drops dead when they are trying to apprehend him? And can you arrest somebody for refusing unnecessary treatment?�
At the February 3, 2006 hearing, the judge assigned custody of her son to ACS, she says.

On February 9th 2006 without notice, Williams was away from her apartment when her daughter called to ask why she had changed the front door locks. “I felt sick. I freaked out,� she recalls. She says she immediately rushed to her apartment—it turns out that the ACS had convinced the housing police to break in by drilling out her second private lock and changing the locks. After they searched the apartment, a note instructed Williams to report to the 9th precinct to get a copy of the new set of keys—eventually, her daughter picked up the keys, accompanied with a friend. “How do you seize someone from their home and search their apartment and change their locks?� she says. “We are living in a police state.�

She says Sgt. Bumpers assured her daughter that the police didn’t want to be involved in a family court matter any longer and that they wouldn’t come back again.
Meanwhile, Williams has experience obstacles with the July 28th 2005, tort claim she filed after ACS started going after her.
She charged the defendants –Dr. Samedi, officials at the clinic, the family court judges, including Judge Jurow and Judge Knipps, ACS  case workers and attorney  Kathleen Wolters —with defamation; falsely accusing her of child abuse; for attempting to separate her from her son; and, for violating her right to due process.

She also filed an action on Aug 4, 2005 at the federal district court. “I knew that the District Court had original jurisdiction in civil matters and that I would get the due process guaranteed by the United States,� she says. All the defendants ignored her lawsuit and failed to respond in a timely manner. Ms. Williams went back to court. “I secured a default judgment against all defendants; secured by issued certificates of default by the federal clerks,� Williams recalls. “This, in plain language meant I won.�
Again, she was wrong.

Her case had been assigned to District Court Judge Deborah Batts of the Second Circuit. She says the clerks then “refused to complete the process of issuing the writ of execution against the defendants,� which would have allowed her to collect on the judgment. Moreover, she adds, Judge Batts “violated the law by permitting the defendants to file their answers well after the deadline.� She believes these actions are retaliatory because she dared to stand up for her son.

“I found out that the district court is just as corrupt as the family court system, especially when you don’t have an attorney,� Williams says. “No one is addressing the psychological damage that is being impacted on my son’s well being and my family as a whole,� Williams notes. “Ten lawyers, seven social workers, four judges and over 20 armed police involved and numerous doctors and over 10 agencies.�

Williams says she filed a notice of appeal in the federal court but even that has not been docketed. “The district court stole the money I paid for the Notice of Appeal. I have my receipt that could be on of the reasons why they broke in to steal my papers. They have classified that all Black women living in New York City housing are stupid,� she says. “I’m not stupid.�

The Black Star News will continue to follow the ordeal of Williams and her son. If you have similar horror stories please contact Milton@blackstarnews.com or bsnonthespot@aol.com for Donald Winkfield. “Speaking Truth To Empower.�

To contact The Black Star News write editor@blackstarnews.com or call (212) 481-7745. Subscribe to this newspaper and advertise to build power.

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