Mom" 'I was trying to protect my childeren'

Naimah Jones is facing a Jan. 3 court date after dust-up with police.
Naimah Jones is facing a Jan. 3 court date after dust-up with police.
Posted: December 22, 2010

NAIMAH JONES and her neighbors agree she acted as any mother would when she peered out a second-floor window of her North Philadelphia home and saw a man poking around a vehicle with her sleeping children inside.

"I said 'hey, get the f--- away from my car!' " said Jones adding that she had run into her home on 10th Street near York for three minutes to grab some luggage.

It was Nov. 27 and she was coming from her in-laws' house in Southwest Philly and then heading to her mother's house in Olney for a Thanksgiving meal.

"What are you doing with these kids in here?" she said the man shouted back.

"That's none of your f---ing business," Jones yelled, before the man told her to come downstairs and say that to his face.

When Jones got outside, she said the man charged toward her and choked her, pushing her over a fence in the private parking lot behind her Fairhill home.

"Do you know who I am?" she says the man shouted. "I'm a f-ing police officer."

Fear consumed the 33-year-old mother of five who said she fought back because she didn't believe the man. Jones said he didn't show her a badge and he was in plain clothes.

She said another plain-clothes officer then grabbed her by her arm and the two threw her to the ground, pushing her face into the dirt. She said that one of the officers stepped on her head as they tried to handcuff her.

Then, after she was handcuffed, she was Tasered at least four times.

Jones filed an online complaint with the police Internal Affairs Department, which said it's waiting for her to file a written complaint.

A police spokesman said that Jones was Tasered because she struggled with police and was combative as they looked into the safety of her children. Police spokesman Lt. Ray Evers said that the officers did identify themselves.

Jones was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital with head pain and later charged with endangering the welfare of children, resisting arrest and related offenses. She is due in court Jan. 3.

Her children were taken away by the Department of Human Services after the incident.

Evers said that police were in the parking lot about 1 a.m.after they smelled marijuana coming from another vehicle. He said the officers turned their attention to Jones' white van when they saw her five children, ages 2 to 12, inside.

"The van was not running," Evers said, adding that it was especially cold that night. "That's dangerous. The officer knocked on the window to wake up the kids. The female starts yelling."

Evers said the officer identified himself, inquired about the children and asked Jones to come outside, but she was combative.

Evers said Jones told the officers that the children were in the car for a half hour and that a scuffle ensued after Jones tried to get her children.

After several verbal commands and unsuccessful control holds, Jones was Tasered until she complied, Evers said.

"They're trying to help out the situation and they get attacked," Evers said.

Captain Branville Bard, of the 22nd District, declined to comment because of the Internal Affairs investigation.

But neighbors who witnessed the incident said Jones was in her house for only a few minutes and that the plain- clothes officers didn't immediately identify themselves.

Johnetta Wood, 40, peeked out of her window after she heard Jones screaming.

Wood said Jones' 12-year-old daughter stood with her mouth open in a state of shock as cops swarmed. Jones spit out dirt and blood as she was taken away in cuffs.

"She's a good person," Wood said. "What did she do to deserve that?"

Court documents show that Officer Philip J. Sprague was the arresting officer. Sprague is a 11-year veteran and has had five physical-abuse complaints against him, none of which was sustained, from 2002 to 2008. It's not clear if he Tasered Jones.

Jones' children are now living with her parents in Olney, where she has also been staying, pending a Department of Human Services inspection and hearing.

"I was going to help cook and I never made it," said Jones, who had never been arrested. "I missed my whole family celebration. I can't believe it, knowing I was trying to protect my children."

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