Guest Post by Katie McCall
I must apologize… this story is a little old. But the victims are still suffering and it needs to be told.
Meet the Hendersons: Father, Jeffrey, is a big, intimidating individual but tenderly in love with his children. Mother, Erica, is a very nurturing mother. Together they have six children and lived together without incident in their Pasadena, California home.
In May 2010, the police were called by a disgruntled neighbor who reported having “heard” Jeffrey slap their oldest child. The police responded by demanding entry. Jeffrey and Erica
refused their requests and instead had the children come to the front window next to their door to show that they had not been harmed. Here you can see Jeffrey and Erica refusing entrance prior to deciding to parade their children’s well being in the window:
Apparently, visually seeing the children was not enough for the Pasadena police. Without a warrant they barged into their residence as the family sang Jewish songs of worship. They beat Jeffrey to the point he needed to be hospitalized, removed the children and gave them to DCFS and locked both Jeffrey and Erica in a cage.
Surprise, surprise! The courts eventually found that the accusation that prompted the violence was unfounded and dropped all charges including an obstruction charge for not opening the door to their home.
But the damage control was already insurmountable. Erica spent two months in county jail where she suffered the pains of breast infection and was denied treatment. She was restricted from breastfeeding her two youngest children who had been placed in foster care as a seven month old, and two year old. She was not given access to a breast pump. Jeffrey was held for three months. Both Jeffrey and Erica lost their home and Jeffrey lost his job for being a no show while in jail. When they got out they found themselves penniless and homeless. They shared their story shortly after their release in this interview.
As if that isn’t ugly enough, here’s where it gets really ugly. Because DCFS decided that even though the Henderson’s were not prosecuted and were NOT convicted of any wrong doing by the court, they were somehow entitled to keep their children anyway. According to DCFS, the Henderson’s were abusive because they refused to open the door for police and therefor put their children at risk of being injured by the battering ram the police department used to gain (unlawful) entry to their home. Consider the absurdity that is the state – police are not punished for their violent, unjustified actions; instead, their victims are.
DCFS required them to show up for several visits per week when ordered which were, of course, scheduled in the middle of the work day. These visits needed to be complied with or DCFS would note their disinterest and lack of involvement in resuming custody of their children. And then there were all of the department mandated classes they were ordered to attend. All of this kept them from employment and finding a home. And then the most logical step of all… DCFS also required them to provide “proper” shelter for their
six children, which in their eyes was a lot more lush than they had originally provided their children. Yet still they are attempting to meet every requirement. Even going above and beyond the department’s requests… bending over backwards and jumping through fiery hoops while the department sits and watched, entertained.
So, here we are. It’s now almost one year later. Where are the Hendersons? Well, the children still live in foster care and adoption is being fought for by the couple who have been caring for the youngest child. Most of their children are being held separately, not being fed the kosher diet their family raised them with, not attending the religious observances that are so close to their heart. Basically, the Hendersons are still desperately trying to reunite, despite a million miles of bureaucratic red tape.
Jeffrey has filed a habeas corpus and has made it public for anyone to see and use in their own defenses. He is resisting the assertion that the United States government has rights over his family. Interestingly, the Henderson’s youngest — a seven month old boy — had not yet had his birth registered when he was kidnapped by federal agents. He has no birth certificate and no social security
card. How can the United States government have any kind of say so in his welfare? How do they even know whose baby they took?
Those who believe badges grant extra rights apparently don’t just work in the police force.