Family Defends Man Charged In Death Of 6-Year-Old Boy In Harlem

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A couple appeared in court Monday on charges connected to the death of 6-year-old boy in Harlem.

As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, Geraldine Perkins, 26, and her boyfriend Rysheim Smith, 42, were charged with endangering the welfare of a child in the death of Zymere Perkins on Monday of last week.

But in court Monday, Smith’s own children said they could not believe their father could have hurt another child.

A younger Rysheim Smith carries his father’s name, and said the man who raised him could never have harmed another child.

“I want everyone to know my father is a good man. He treats this kids right, and I just wish that the truth will come out,” the younger Smith said. “He’s not the type to do anything like this”.

Police allege that inside the apartment at 135th Street and Broadway, the elder Smith beat the 6-year-old boy with a broomstick and even held the boy’s head under water in the shower.

“That’s not him. That would never be my stepfather at all,” said Smith’s stepdaughter, Thiara Fortune, “and right now I’m shaking, because it’s not him, and I don’t know why they’re portraying to be a monster. He’s not. He loved kids.”

The boy’s mother reportedly told police that she was there during the attack, but never called 911, and allegedly waited until the boy was dead several hours to take him to the hospital.

The New York City Administration for Children’s Services investigated the mother at least five times since 2010.

“We’re looking at policies and procedures to make sure we do our best to protect the young people in this city,” said NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill. “It is important that we stay in contact with the all the rest of the agencies to make sure we do our best to protect these kids.”

After a week of CBS2 demanding answers in this case, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will have more to say on Wednesday.

“We are being very careful to respect the concerns of the Manhattan DA’s office,” de Blasio said. “I spoke with District Attorney Vance this morning, and he delineated the areas he wants us to defer to his office on.”

Perkins and the elder Smith were being held on $50,000 bail late Monday, Five ACS workers connected to the case have been placed on desk duty.


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