African-American woman Jessica Kiyee, 22, of Jamaica, Queens, New York City, New York, United States worked as a barista at a Starbucks in New York City amid the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020. She is now suing the city.
On June 2, 2020, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, 59, declared 8:00 p.m. as the start of a curfew in the city after waves of looting followed peaceful protests over George Floyd‘s death. After finishing a shift at Starbucks at around 8:00 p.m. that day, Kiyee was being escorted home by her cousin Kiyee Kye, 37, of Jamaica, Queens when an African-American man ran past them.
The man was being chased by New York City Police Department officers. Kiyee, Kye and two white bystanders used their cellphones to record the cops handcuffing the man.
According to Kiyee, the NYPD officers just asked the white bystanders to go home but arrested her and Kye. The officers allegedly put her against the wall and roughly took her cousin to the ground.
One of the highest ranking officers on the scene was Robert O’Hare, a deputy inspector. According to Kiyee, O’Hare told her, “You’re stupid.”
Both Kiyee and Kye were given summonses for violating the curfew but were released at midnight. It was not the first time the two were arrested.
Kye was an inmate at the Rikers Island Prison Complex on Rikers Island, New York City when he served as an accomplice of his fellow inmate Andrew Spencer, 37, of Jamaica, Queens, who wanted to kill a police officer in May 2007. On December 9, 2009, the two were found guilty, QNS reported.
On August 2, 2016, the Newark Police Department arrested Kiyee in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, USA and charged her with aggravated assault, weapons possession of a knife and unlawful possession of a weapon. She now works at the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, Bergen County, New Jersey.
On April 26, 2021, Kye and Kiyee filed a lawsuit against New York City alleging that they faced retaliation for exercising their First Amendment right to film the NYPS cops on June 2, 2020. Among the defendants named in the lawsuit were O’Hare, Danielle Ambrecht, Maureen Carey, Kachun Cheung, Johnathan Dones and James Shouldis.
“At the time this event occurred, this area of New York City was in the midst of two days of looting, fires and violence and a curfew was in place,” New York Daily News quoted NYPD spokeswoman Sergeant Jessica McRorie as saying. “Numerous arrests were made to restore order. Allegations made in a lawsuit are not evidence of wrongdoing, they are simply a way to bring claims before a court. Neither the edited video nor the civil complaint tell the complete story.”