Manchester Township, NJ — Raymond Cheley Sykes, 34, and Kaila Boulware, 27, were passing through North Carolina on their way to visit friends in Florida earlier this month when they were targeted by police in a traffic stop. During the stop, Sykes was violently beaten with a baton in front of his family and their vehicle searched for two hours. At the end of the stop, Sykes was bloody and facing charges, Boulware was given a traffic ticket, and their 9-month old son, Truth, kidnapped by the state.
In a recent interview with NJ Advance Media, Sykes and Boulware recounted their horrifying experience and said they've been fighting for weeks to get back their baby. They said they have no idea why cops started escalating as they complied with all their orders.
“Yahweh, please protect me,” Sykes said he shouted, according to NJ.com, hands in a prayer formation in the air as he walked toward the hood of the deputy’s car. “Don’t let these people hurt me.”
The official story differs from what Sykes and Boulware tell but since there was no dash camera footage and no body camera footage, it is their word against the state's. We know who wins these situations.
According to police, the officer alleged that the vehicle was driving "suspiciously" so he pulled the family over. During the stop, he alleged to have smelled marijuana inside the car. The officer then claimed that Sykes punched him and they had no other choice but to respond with violence.
The official police story falls apart, however, because they claim Sykes wasn't injured during the beating. Sykes on the other hand, has photos of his injuries proving them wrong.
“Neither Sykes nor Boulware were injured during their arrest and they did not request medical attention,” Montgomery Sheriff Chris Watkins said defending the violence doled out by his officers that night.
However, Sykes' injuries are consistent with his version of events. According to Sykes, when the officer was forcibly removing him from the car — after he questioned the reasoning behind a search — Sykes put up his arms. That's when the baton blows started flying and that is why Sykes had severe bruising under his arms.
According to the couple, they were handcuffed and placed in separate vehicles as the cops kept referring to their baby as "it."
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“He says ‘you’re never going to see it again,’” Skyes told NJ Advance Media.
Both parents would likely endure many more beatings to get their son back, but because of archaic laws that make plants illegal, they don't know when that will happen.
According NJ.com, the two now face misdemeanor possession of marijuana and paraphernalia charges. However, no marijuana was found in the vehicle, only "paraphernalia."
What's more, the couple’s attorney, Jason Keith, said the officers found CBD tea, which can smell and look like marijuana, and, which is entirely legal.
Boulware also faces minor traffic violations stemming from the stop, and Sykes faces charges of resisting a public officer and assault of a government official, both misdemeanors in North Carolina.
“Every day that we’re not with him is a tragedy,” Boulware said through tears. “I still have hope and faith in our heart….so we wake up and we can go pick up our son and go home.”
To set the record straight, Boulware and Sykes are not criminals. According to NJ.com, they are college educated professionals who work in photography and on food distribution programs in New Brunswick. They also founded a training program that rehomes dogs in New Jersey.
For now, however, because the state is a violent machine that lays waste to people's lives over arbitrary substances they deem illegal, this couple is living in a hotel in North Carolina fighting to get back their baby.
Friends have started a GoFundMe for the couple to pay for legal fees and court costs in their fight for Truth.