“Love and Hip Hop New York” star Yandy Smith threw her support behind the inmates at Metropolitan Detention Center over the weekend by spearheading a rally to call for electricity to be restored on the facility. But things took a turn Sunday when she entered the building as she was met with a face full of pepper spray.
After chanting outside the Brooklyn for the officials to “turn that heat on” a day earlier, Smith and her fellow protesters rushed the building entrance upon their return Feb. 3. Amid shouts of the inmates being subjected to “torture,” she got pepper sprayed as the jail personnel drove out the protester .
Smith coughed and choked on the substance before she was later aided by others who helped rinse out her eyes.
“I just got pepper sprayed and thrown on the floor for just asking for bare human rights for these people,” the reality star, whose husband Mendeecees Harris is currently imprisoned in the state, explained on her Instagram Story after the incident. “My eyes are on fire, I couldn’t breathe. Y’all know I’m not violent. I did not do anything wrong. I just asked ‘why don’t they have heat?'”
Smith managed to get patched up and updated fans outside the MDC that she was “OK. I’m alive.”
More than 1,600 inmates have been in the facility with no heat or hot water during the past week, which saw temperatures in New York plummet below 0 degrees. As such, the prisoners have been shouting and banging on the windows from their cells as they remained in the cold and darkness throughout the weekend.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s emergency management dropped off supplies to help keep the inmates warm on Saturday, including generators, blankets and hand warmers, The Hill reported.
By Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for an investigation to be launched into the power outage that led to the chaos.
“Prisoners are human beings. Let’s treat them that way,” he tweeted Feb. 3. “I’m calling on the @TheJusticeDept to immediately investigate the circumstances at the #MDC in Brooklyn. New York stands ready to provide any support necessary to keep the heat, hot water and electricity running.”
Prisoners are human beings. Let's treat them that way.
I'm calling on the @TheJusticeDept to immediately investigate the circumstances at the #MDC in Brooklyn. New York stands ready to provide any support necessary to keep the heat, hot water and electricity running. pic.twitter.com/aoRWrG7X5p
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) February 3, 2019
The U.S. Department of Justice said it would work with the Bureau of Prisons to investigate what happened to cause the loss of power and also work to prevent the issue from happening again.
By Sunday night, electricity was finally restored at around 6:30 p.m. by power company Con Edison and a contractor, according to the Associated Press.