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Black Mothers On Playdate In D.C. Confronted By Gun Pointing Secret Service Members

The women say they were scared their fun day out could have turned either one of them into "another Breonna Taylor."
WASHINGTON, D.C. - MAY 13: A Secret Service police car sits outside the White House gate, in Washington, D.C. on MAY 13, 2012. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
By Tanya A. Christian · August 4, 2020

Two D.C. moms are left with several questions after a playdate with their children turned into a traumatic ordeal. According to the Washington Post, the longtime best friends were taking their infants to play in the fountains at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall when a Secret Service cruiser purposely crashed into their vehicle.

Mere moments after the collision, a uniformed Secret Service officer pointed a rifle at the foursome and commanded the women to get out of their vehicle and put their hands in the air. He was quickly joined by more officers who also surrounded the car with their guns drawn. In the hour following, India Johnson, 26 and Yasmeen Winston, 25 were handcuffed and separated from their small children. The women say authorities were not wearing protective gear to help stop the transmission of COVID-19.

A man visits the National World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, May 8, 2020, on the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe. – President Donald Trump evoked the coronavirus crisis ahead of a wreath-laying ceremony May 8, 2020 at the World War II memorial in Washington to mark the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Johnson and Winston, represented by an attorney, are demanding that the traumatic incident be investigated and the details of the encounter released to the public. When WaPo spoke to the women, one of the mothers said an officer initially told them that their car had been reported stolen. The suspects were two Black men. Johnson, the owner of the car confirmed that her vehicle was never reported stolen.

While the women were being detained and questioned by authorities for roughly 45 minutes, their infants, six months and 13 months were left in the back of a hot car wailing. Winston asked to breastfeed her son during that time but says she was ignored. An officer eventually called an ambulance to check on the children.

The officers, who never read the women their Miranda rights according to the query sent from the women’s attorney to the Secret Service, eventually let the two mothers go. The women were never given an apology nor did they receive any answers to their questions about the details of their detainment. Prior to departing, the women did get the name and badge numbers of each officer involved.

Timothy Maloney, the attorney for Winston and Johnson, says the Secret Service has acknowledged that they received the letter sent on behalf of the women that demands answers and an investigation. The agency told WaPo they are “looking into the matter.”