“Love & Hip Hop: New York” star Yandy Smith was pepper-sprayed last Sunday as she joined hundreds of people to protest inhumane living conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.
According to The New York Times, the federal jail had been lacking heat and electricity due to an electrical issue since January 28th and inmates were exposed to harsh weather conditions with serious health consequences.
Smith and a host of other protesters, including Women’s March co-founder Tamika Mallory, gathered outside the facility to protest the conditions and the reality star was hurt in the process.
Smith, who was visibly emotional, could be seen communicating with the inmates via a public address system.
Lisa Evers, a reporter for Fox 5 News, shared a photo of Smith on the ground, surrounded by fellow protesters attending to her after she was pepper-sprayed.
Evers captioned the image:
“[Yandy Smith] sprayed with pepper spray at MDC trying to support a mother worried about her son.”
A friend of Smith’s also posted a video from the protest showing the reality star choking and coughing on the ground.
“You see what the guards did to my sister @yandysmith,” the friend wrote in the caption. “World we need your help. They trying to kill us out here!! Shut MDC down. None of us are considered human to them!!”
The New York Times report identified many ways the lack of heat and electricity was affecting MDC’s occupants.
Inmates with sleep apnea were reportedly at risk for a stroke because they could not use their sleep machines without power; calls to loved ones and for medication refills had also become impossible.
The inmates could not use the toilets, there was no hot water, and visiting hours had been canceled.
In a livestream on her Instagram page, Smith, who was visibly emotional, could be seen communicating with the inmates via a public address system.
She instructed them to bang their cell windows in response to her questions, and when the mom-of-two asked if they did not receive blankets, the banging was loud and clear. The same thing happened when she asked if the heat was still turned off.
According to Madamenoire.com, the matter hits close to home for Smith whose husband, Mendeecees Harris, is in prison for drug-related charges.
As it turned out, Smith’s activism was not in vain. By Sunday night, officials restored electricity in the center, and the celebrity manager took to Instagram to share the victory.
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