Yandy Smith and Porsha Williams made headlines in recent weeks for participating in Breonna Taylor protests, but the stories were focused on the reality stars getting detained.
The Love and Hip Hop: New York star detailed the events that led to their arrests. Yandy said that the protestors were peaceful but the officers were aggressive which caused tension between them and the protestors.
“We knew at that point we were going to be detained,” she said. “But that’s when I’m like, ‘Well, I’m going to stand up.’ I did not know if they were going to start pepper-spraying. If they are going to do anything, they’re not going to do it to me on my back.”
Smith says they weren’t even told they were being arrested and had to wait in 98-degree weather for two hours to be processed.
The men and women were crammed in a van separated by rows as they kneeled, she recalled. “A lot of us were claustrophobic,” she said, pointing out that some removed their 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.”
Luckily Yandy had a second phone on her and was able to record some moments of the arrest and post it to social media before turning it in during the search. “I wanted to document as much as possible what was happening so people could see, like 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.”
She went on to explain how the jail wasn’t taking serious COVID-19 precautions. They just took their temperature and asked if they’ve been exposed to the deadly virus. “Basically, they tell you if you’ve been exposed, you’re going to go to a cell with people with COVID,” she said, adding, “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.”
But 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.”
According to the LHH star, the women and men used the same bathroom and there was only one toilet for dozens of people. “The amount of humiliation is crazy,” she said. “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.”
The LMDC denied Yandy Smith’s allegations and claimed the “small group” was moved into “clean housing” that was “prepared to cohort protestors.”
“Protesters are not housed with the general inmate population,” he said. “Before entering the housing, the detainee has spoken to medical personnel, picked up their bedding, a sandwich, a juice box and a cup from bins. The housing unit has one toilet and sink and can accommodate up to 30 persons.”
Durham continued, “Protesters see medical personnel who take temperatures, they ask the detainees a series of medical questions, and discuss immediate medical needs. When any person is admitted to custody who have medicine with them, medical staff takes steps to verify the medication is prescribed. That takes time.”
The detention center’s assistant director went on to say that he understands everyone’s needs weren’t met, but it’s not unusual for 30 people to share one toilet during a mass arrest.
“We clean and sanitize with bleach before the housing unit is occupied, but that when the space gets filled, it can get dirty from occupant use,” he concluded. “When we hear those comments about cleanliness, health care, or conditions of confinement, we inspect what those claims and where warranted we work to improve. Turning a concrete and steel housing unit into a comfortable setting won’t happen and like all the housing units in the jail, the detainees have to work with us to help keep their space clean.”
Yandy and the protestors were released the following day around 3 AM.
The reality star said she was charged with two misdemeanors: disorderly conduct and obstruction of traffic.
“If you know me, you know my personality, there’s nothing disorderly about me,” she said. “I am a poised woman, a classy woman at that. I was within my rights.”