Target: New York City Law Department Executive Zachary W. Carter
Goal: Pay damages to black businesswoman who was wrongly imprisoned in a psych ward for eight days.
A Jamaican businesswoman was sedated and institutionalized for complaining about having her car impounded by an NYPD officer who accused her of driving while high on marijuana with no evidence to support this claim. The woman, Kam Brock, spent eight days enduring heavy sedation and being forced to take powerful and unnecessary medication, and when she was finally released, the hospital handed her a bill for $13,000.
This story is horrific from start to finish. First, this black Jamaican woman had to deal with her car being impounded after being pulled over by a cop who accused her of being high, even though no marijuana was found in the vehicle. She went to the police station the next day seeking justice for this blatant and likely racist abuse of power, and instead police handcuffed her and forced her into a mental institutional where she was sedated and told she was crazy for saying that she is a businesswoman who works for a bank and that President Obama follows her on Twitter–all of which is true.
Instead of spending the few minutes it would have taken to verify her claims, the doctors at the psych ward assumed she was delusional and unemployed. A “master treatment plan” for this woman that was obtained from the hospital said, “Objective: Patient will verbalize the importance of education for employment and will state that Obama is not following her on Twitter.”
“Patient weaknesses” read, “inability to test reality, unemployment.”
It’s common for racists to assume that black women must be unemployed and to associate being Jamaican with marijuana use. If she had been a white woman, Kam Brock never would have had her car impounded in the first place. The horrific ordeal she had to endure is very likely rooted in racism and sexism, but is absolutely unacceptable no matter what prejudices were in play at the time.
Kam Brock is now suing New York City for unspecified damages. By signing this petition, you’ll give Ms. Brock your support in demanding that the city pay for taking away her car, her freedom, and her dignity in a completely unnecessary and avoidable eight-day-long hell.
Dear Mr. Carter,
Ms. Kam Brock was recently wrongly institutionalized in Harlem Hospital’s psych ward because she complained that her car was impounded by police without any evidence of wrongdoing. She was held there for eight days and assumed to be delusional because she said she was a businesswoman and President Obama followed her on Twitter, which is all true.
This woman, who happens to be black and Jamaican, never should have been institutionalized in the first place. The police officer who impounded her car accused her of being intoxicated on marijuana with no evidence, and no illegal substances were found in the car. This is bad enough, but having her sent to a mental hospital for claims that could have been easily verified with a quick Google search is horrific and inexcusable.
At the hospital, she was labeled as being unemployed and forced to take powerful medications she didn’t need while being kept heavily sedated. Assuming this black Jamaican businesswoman was an unemployed weed smoker is undoubtedly based in rank racism.
For all these reasons, I am demanding that Kam Brock be financially reimbursed for the $13,000 bill she was given when finally released and paid for any emotional damage she endured while being wrongly imprisoned and drugged. This woman was clearly severely wronged by the city, and she deserves full restitution for her eight-day long ordeal.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: The All-Nite Images via Flickr