A Black female banker is coming forward after she was forced to spend over a week in a psychiatric ward — all because police officers didn’t believe she was the owner of a BMW.
In an investigative report by New York’s Pix11, Kamilah Brock says the incident began when she was driving through Harlem on Sept. 12, 2014. While stopped at a traffic light, the Long Island native says she was pulled over by a police officer. Brock has since filed a lawsuit against the city, the hospital, and unnamed police officers; it is currently active in court.
“I was confused and did not know what was going on, why I was being taken into custody,” Brock said. “The officer said, ‘why are you driving without your hands on the wheel?’ I said I was dancing, I am at a light, he asked me to get out of the car.”
The officer took Brock to the 30th Precinct but after a few hours she was released without any charges. However, she was told to come back the next day to get her car.
The lawsuit states police reacted in disbelief that Brock owned a BMW when she arrived at a substation to pick it up.
Brock said: “I told them I have a BMW they asked me what kind of car it was and from that moment they started looking at me differently like I could not have a BMW.”
Employees and officers doubted she owned the car. Brock admits she did get defensive at that point, especially when an EMS worker told her they would take her to pick up her car.
“Then EMS approached me,” she continued. “And they said we’re gonna take you to your car. And I’m like, in an ambulance? I’m going to my car in an ambulance? I’m going to my car in an ambulance? I was just so confused.”
Brock was sent to Harlem Hospital’s psychiatric ward, where she was dosed with lithium and powerful sedatives. With no prior history of mental illness, Brock said her eight-day stay was torture.
Before she was able to leave, her lawyer Michael Lamonsoff said she was falsely diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She said they forced her to claim she didn’t own the BMW, she wasn’t a professional banker, and that President Barack Obama didn’t follow her on Twitter.
Brock, however, did own the BMW, was a professional banker, and she is one of 640,000 people President Obama follows on Twitter.
After her stay at the hospital, she was stuck with a $13,000 medical bill. Brock and her lawyer believe her race played a part in how she was treated.
“If a white woman was trying to reclaim her BMW impounded by police, would she have been made a victim?” he said to Huffington Post. “Would she have been questioned? Would she have been subject to sarcastic comments? Would she be made to justify who she was in order to ask for help? I don’t think so. I do think race played a part in this.”
In July, the city claimed Brock was “acting irrational” and ran into traffic during her encounter with police. Since then, the NYPD confirmed Brock was taken into custody, but did not comment on the lawsuit.
Don’t Miss Our Hottest Stories! Get The NewsOne Flip App for iPhone: Flip, Skip — Or Send Us a Tip!