by Sharon Rondeau

(Sep. 16, 2016) — In a case hauntingly reminiscent of that of the Henderson family of Los Angeles, three children have been taken from their parents without any evidence of abuse or neglect, with two soon to be legally adopted by the mother’s parents in what has become a five-year ordeal.

Last week, The Post & Email spoke with Roosevelt and Kanika Williams, who have been desperately attempting to regain custody of their children who they have not seen since last November.

Roosevelt and Kanika Williams have been forced to travel between their home in Monroeville, AL and California as proceedings take place concerning their children.  While two have been approved for adoption, the third child’s case has not yet been determined by Judge Marguerite D. Downing, the same judge who presided over the Henderson cases at the Edmund D. Edelman Children’s Court in Monterey Park.

The Los Angeles DCFS is the agency which takes referrals for children to be separated from their parents, whether from neglect, abuse or imminent danger.  In interviews with DCFS spokesman Armand Montiel during our coverage of the Hendersons’ ordeal, Montiel told The Post & Email that reunification of the family “is the primary goal” of the agency, yet the Henderson and Williams cases appear to belie that claim.  “Our family has been torn apart by illegal government interference with parents’ rights and children’s rights,” Kanika Williams told The Post & Email when she first contacted us on September 3.

In emails the following day, Kanika further told us:

We, like the Henderson Family are determined to get our children back. I finished Law School but never passed the Bar. In all of my classes, reading of Case Law, I never heard or saw a case like ours and the Hendersons. With all I learned in School, still nothing compared or prepared me for the hell my family has endured these several years…We have been told by the appointed Attorneys throughout this process that we don’t have appealable issues even though we do. We have been told by the Appellate court when our family reunification services were wrongfully denied that we don’t have appealable issues.  We, like the Henderson Family, are making the points to the proper Court, timely and well-founded arguments, but the Judges are friends, sticking together, corrupt and turning a blind eye to the injustice we are enduring…

Each child has been put through something traumatic, and I don’t attempt to value one child trauma over the other, it’s all horrific and so unnecessary. All three children live with my parents who are trying to adopt our children from us and keep them permanently from us. We barely get to talk to them, we haven’t seen them in months and that is because my father is a licensed Attorney and friend of Judge Downing. My family has turned their back on me showcasing the greatest level of disloyalty since Judas. They are the reason we have a case because my son is the son they always wanted and never had and they never liked my husband. Now our children are in a War they shouldn’t be which is what I hate the most as a Mother…

I don’t know anyone family who has done so  much wrong to their own flesh and blood more so than mine.

Mrs. Williams reported on Thursday morning that a hearing on Wednesday for one of the children resulted in her being ejected from the courtroom by Downing for rejecting the court-appointed attorney and asking to represent herself.  Downing did the same to the Hendersons on more than one occasion.  Like the Williamses, the Hendersons believed that their DCFS-appointed attorneys were not seeking the best interests of their children.

Kanika told The Post & Email that her parents have frustrated virtually all of her attempts to speak with her children over the phone.  They range in age from almost-nine to two.

Roosevelt and Kanika have just learned that a federal complaint Roosevelt filed pro se against the State of California requesting time to conduct “jurisdictional discovery” and for summary judgment was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction on August 31.  The Williamses had hoped their complaint would become a class action suit involving other parents wrongfully deprived of the custody of their children.

Interestingly, Judge Downing, who is said to have “massive political connections,” commented on the record that the Williamses’ federal lawsuit had been dismissed.  The Williamses reported that Downing “made this comment prior to the dismissal, which prompted us to request the case be transferred, and our request was denied.”



A recent report issued by the Cato Institute ranks California as one of five of the most restrictive states relative to “personal and economic freedoms.”

Of the origins of the removal of her children from her custody, Kanika told The Post & Email:

In May 2011, DCFS got a call allegedly from “a neighbor” saying they heard a disturbance at my parents’ house, where I was living.  I was going to law school at that time.  The police showed up to my parents’ house; it was just my son and me home at the time.  I came to the door and said, “There are no issues here.  There’s no reason for you to be here; please leave.  They said, “No, we have a right to be here; we can do what we want.”

There were three police officers on the scene at first. One was a white male, one a Latino female, and the third was a Latino male.  When the white male actually kind-of went for his gun, I said, “You’re going to try to shoot me in front of my son?” and he looked like, “Oh, yeah, the kid is here,” as if were my son not there, he would have.  Then they said they wanted to look at my son.

He had on a tank top and shorts, and I said, “You can see him and that there are no marks or abuse or anything.  I don’t even know who called you…Who called you?  Who is the one saying these things, because my son is very well taken care of.”  They said, “Ma’am, we can’t give you that information.” So I said, “Well, you’re not going to be poking and prodding him and doing all kinds of exams, but you can talk to him in my presence and ask him whatever you want to ask him.”  And they saw there was nothing on him.

At that point it started to get crazy. Another police officer arrived, so I took my son into the back yard. They followed me there, and I said, “You cannot follow me into my back yard; you have no permission to be back here.”  And they said, “We’re the police; we can do what we want.”

They were trying to offer my son candies and all sorts of things, and I said, “No, he’s not accepting that.”  They said, “Why not?” and I said, “Because that’s what people do with kids when they want them to do what they want them to do.”  Pedophiles offer children all kinds of things to try to coerce children to trust them.  I said, “I taught my son not to accept things from people like that, and you’re no exception.”

So I took my son inside the house, and he was starting to look a little scared.  I put on Gospel music to try to keep him calm as if it were a normal day.  Then my parents came in through the front door – they weren’t there during all of this – and they said nothing to me, went straight to the back door, and let the police inside the house.  So now I was looking at them as if to say, “What is going on?”

My theory is that they were the ones who called the police, because they were normally home at that time but weren’t that day.  My mother was retired, but my dad was still working.

The Post & Email then asked, “Why do you think your parents would have called the police on you?” to which Kanika replied:

They didn’t agree with how I wanted to raise my son, and they didn’t agree with my relationship with my husband.

My dad is an attorney.  I was living in the home in which I grew up; at that time, it was my home, too.  I was never made to feel that I was not family. I am an only child, and we were always a family.  As the only child, my life was planned out as to what I was going to do, but I took my own route.

It felt like a betrayal when my parents opened the door and let the police in.  I didn’t know what was going on, but I was holding on to my son just trying to make things normal. So I asked him if he wanted something to eat, and he said he wanted a sandwich.  So I went to go make him a sandwich.  While I was doing that, my father was in the background talking to one of the police officers, but I could not hear what they were saying.

When they came back, I was holding my son, and they literally ripped him out of my arms, and he was screaming, “Mommy, mommy, I want my mommy!!”

They arrested me, put me in the back of the police car, then a lady with a white lab coat arrived.  I could see inside the house – the door was open – and my father was sitting at the dining room table and the lady was sitting across from him, but I didn’t know what they were saying or what they were doing.  While I was sitting in the police car, neighbors, people who live on the other side of the city, my dad’s upscale, well-heeled acquaintances and associates who were not normally at our house, arrived.

I was doing my best to calm myself down.  My parents came outside, and I asked them, “Where is my son?” and they said he was in the house with one of our associate’s sons.  I said, “He doesn’t know him.  Why are you guys standing out here, and I’m in here, and he’s in there with a complete stranger?”  Then they rushed back in there to be with him, as if they didn’t have the good sense to know to do that.  I was in the situation I was in and still trying to think about my son.

“On what grounds were you arrested?” The Post & Email asked.

I do not have complete understanding of why I was arrested.  When I read the social worker’s report, it doesn’t even say why they arrested me.  It says that I said I was God, and I never said that.  They had said something about God, and I said, “I don’t worship your god; I’m a Christian.”  That’s all I said.  They put in the report that when I was making my son’s peanut butter sandwich with a butter knife, I was swinging the knife at the police.  It was seven police officers, ten people and just me, so how was I going to threaten anybody?

I don’t know the original reason for the arrest except that my parents wanted me arrested.  Maybe this is why:  I was arrested for about 20 minutes before an ambulance arrived, and they transported me to the other side of town to UCLA Harbor mental health hospital.  They put me there for what was supposed to be a 72-hour hold, but I was there for three weeks.

I believe they gave me medication without my consent.  I blacked out part of the time, but when I was awake, I said, “I’m not supposed to be here.  I’m not doing anything you guys want me to do; I’m not taking your medicine.”  I was trying to tell them what was happening, and they were treating me as if I was out of my mind.

“Were you given an IV?”

Yes.  I remember one time a guy strapped me down and said, “If you don’t take this, we’re going to force it down you,” and I think they stabbed me in the behind.  They put a pill in my mouth, and I remember trying to put it under my tongue and spit it out, but sometimes they were watching.

There was a group room, and then they put me in a solitary room because I wasn’t complying.  Then my parents started coming to see me, which I saw as a taunting…they would keep coming, and I would say, “I’m not supposed to be here.  There are feces in the shower; there are people talking to themselves and screaming at night…”  I begged them, “I need you to get me out of here.”  I remember that my dad looked me in the eye and said, “I can’t and I won’t.”

That was the moment when I believe I lost my father.  There have been times since then when we’ve tried to salvage the relationship, but that was the moment when he became a whole other person.  The face of him had changed.

“While you were growing up, did he ever seem authoritarian, retaliatory, mean-spirited?  Were you ever physically abused?” we asked.

No, never.  This man used to take me to Chuck E. Cheese.  He’d pick up my friends and me and we’d go to the movies, ice cream, food…I was an only child, so it was as if my parents were my friends and my parents at the same time.

My parents were really good to me until this happened. I had seen signs that my dad treated his family members badly.  I can look back now and say that when I met my future husband and the way my father treated his own family, he had a streak.  But while I was growing up, it didn’t apply to me.  He portrayed himself as “I’m up here and you’re down here” to his side of the family, but he never treated me like that.  If anything, if I were around that side of the family, they would tell me about how much he loved me and how close we were.

“How did you get out of the psychiatric hospital?”

My parents got me out.  They actually came and got me out.  I think at the end it became a medical thing after I blacked out.  I wasn’t eating, and I told them, “I’m not supposed to be here; I’m not comfortable eating your food.  The only way I’m going to eat here is if I’m opening my own food and I know that it has not been tampered with.”  They said, “OK, we have this vegetarian food that we can give you that we usually give to our hospital patients.”  I approached it like a fast, as if I was being strong for a certain purpose…but I think the stress of being in that environment turned into a bad situation. I don’t know if the blackout was because of that or because of what they were doing or everything put together.

Within a week of starting the vegetarian food, I started to get stronger, and my energy came up.  I would say that within a week, my parents came; they had a meeting with the supervisors and me there.  The first thing that came out of my dad’s mouth was, “What is your confidentiality/privacy policy at this place?”  I could see it on their faces, but nobody wanted to say, “Aren’t you concerned about your daughter?”  But it was more important to him that the fact I had been there didn’t get out.  They then said that they observed the HIPAA law and everything would be confidential.

Then we left.  You wouldn’t believe it, but it was as if I hadn’t been in the hospital for three weeks.  “Are you hungry?” they asked.  And I knew something was beyond me, and I went into survival mode.  I knew I had to get out of there.


Editor’s Note:  Please look for a continuation of this story in the near future.

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