On June 27, L.A. Sentinel’s Contributing Sports Reporter, Khari Jones and his fiancé, Kayla Love, shared a life changing experience; at 9 a.m. their daughter, Fari-Love Jones was born. The ethereal atmosphere that surrounded their first day as a new tribe was polluted by the social imbalance many Black family units are facing today.
As first-time parents, Jones and Love thoroughly prepared for their baby’s arrival. However, their judgment was disregarded, and their personal space was invaded.
What was labeled a “health and wellness check,” turned into a terrifying reflection of the current abuse of power by the LAPD. Jones says he is using this personal narrative as a moment to fulfill a divine purpose; to disenchant the illusion of safety and trust law enforcement hides behind and reveal the truth of overly aggressive behavior that is now associated with the memories of their daughter’s first days on earth.
Jones went to Indiana State University and received a bachelor’s degree in Recreation Sports Management with Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. He moved to Los Angeles and has represented L.A. Sentinel media at numerous events as a sports-journalist, interviewing college and pro athletes. Additionally, he runs his own business entitled Motivated Purpose Network.
Love is a biochemistry researcher, currently pursuing her doctorate at the University of Southern California (USC) in the same field. She also has her own skin care line called KoKo Love Care, made of natural wellness products that she manages while going to school.
When the young couple discovered they were pregnant, they began studying the best practices that would fit their lifestyle, in addition to what would be best for their newborn child. As a developing family, Jones and Love looked into their choice of doctors, post-partum procedures, and overall anatomy of pregnancy, labor, and birth. The mother-to-be went through her pregnancy in good health and the couple were excited for the final stage leading to the birth of their beautiful baby girl.
As much preparation that went into that highly anticipated day, Fari-Love was delivered at home in an emergency birth carried out by Jones, he shared he was prepared for this. Although their newborn’s birth was successful, there were complications with the placenta leaving Love’s body, which led the couple rushing to the nearest hospital in an ambulance. They were taken to the University of Southern California/Los Angeles County Medical Center (USC/LAC).
However, Jones and Love planned for the first post-delivery care for Fari-Love with their personal family doctor they selected prior to her being born. Their mission in going to USC/LAC was to make sure Love was seen immediately by the next available physician.
As academic scholars who orchestrated prior medical research, they knew their rights to deny any recommended medical service as walk-in patients. Jones says, while holding his newborn daughter, he calmly shared their views to the medical staff approaching him about Fari-Love. He reiterated that the focus was on his fiancés well-being.
Although Jones explained himself and echoed his decision to decline any further assistance numerous times, the USC/LAC medical personnel grew persistent in taking Fari-Love to get blood work done and conduct a general vital check-up for newborns. The staff sent for a social worker, along with an officer from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
While the conversation developed in the lobby area with Jones, Love was in a medical room finishing up with the end of the emergency procedure. The assigned physician, Dr. Caroline Violette, insisted that Love stay overnight, even though the procedure was a success and she was cleared to go. Love declined the overnight recommendation and was prompted to sign a form stating she was “leaving against the advice of the physician.” They all agreed that if she felt that she needed to come back, she would.
Circling back to the research and study Jones and Love conducted, it led to the couple being adamant about going to their selected doctor, due to the current statistics pointing to institutionalized racism found in the medical field against Black people.
Jones and Love selected a doctor that was from the collective community with their own private practice. According to an article by Washington Post, the mortality rate for Black babies is cut in half when a Black doctor cares for them after birth.
According to the segment by Washington post, Black infants are three times as likely to die when compared to White newborns. Associate Professor Rachel Hardeman led a study that concluded when medical physicians (pediatricians, neonatologists, or family practitioners) are Black, the mortality rate for Black newborns is cut in half. With that information, any family would stand their ground and protect their new baby; by exercising their right to choose to only allow their newborn to be seen by their selected physician.
However, the hospital felt legally obligated to escalate the situation further. It has not been confirmed what was said, but a member from the hospital felt they needed to call for legal reinforcement. Later that evening, around 8:30 p.m., a social worker, Vasonne McDonald and LAPD arrived at Jones’ doorstep, located in USC-owned housing with guns out of their holsters.
Under the protocol of a ‘health and wellness check,’ the social worker and law enforcement looked to contact Jones and his family, even after he requested for them to come back the next day.
The couple shared that police officers removed Jones from his house, arrested him in front of his neighbors, and positioned him outside while they entered his house. Guns still drawn, they found Love resting after a day of giving birth. Looking to piece together the situation, she asked what they were looking for and why their guns were drawn.
An officer, among those who arrived in approximately ten squad cars, responded to Love that a medical personnel felt concerned and requested a health and wellness check to be performed. The question of why the guns were drawn during a non-threatening event went unanswered. Love shared with them that she would not be going along with any unethical practices of the law and focused her concern on her fiancé who was still arrested outside of their home.
Jones shared two hours had passed before he was released and able to join his fiancé back in the house. The environment was tense and the neighbors are now tuning into what was taking place. The stress from that day spilled over to the rest of night, this was their first evening with their newborn.
The couple shared that USC and their residential education department showed little concern for what was happening. Love shared that the residential assistant (RA) who lives in close proximity to them did not investigate the incident and when asked about the policy towards an event such as this, she brought up that regardless of the verdict, this would be on the grounds of eviction.
No one from the university immediately reached out to check on Jones or Love. They later received an email from USC residency department; it was under the blind assumption that the incident was related to domestic abuse.
Neighbors who seen this event transpire, feel as though this behavior was unethical; the lack of care has been a frequent complaint about the residence before the unraveling of this event.
Chris is a resident of USC-housing and neighbor to Jones and Love. He stated, “What myself and my partner witnessed this night was an utter disgrace. We thought there was a serious issue transpiring the way officers were running in and out of USC’s ‘family’ housing. What we saw were officers brandishing heavy fire power for a family that were supposed to be celebrating the birth of their first child all in the name of a ‘wellness check’…”
Sierra is another neighbor who watched the event take place, she recalled her history with Jones and Love and stated, “Khari and Kayla have been such kind, lovely, and friendly neighbors since they moved in, and have clearly been so excited about the arrival of their new baby– and many of us in the building have been excited, too!”
She continued, “So, it was especially sad and upsetting that on the same day as their baby’s birth, more than a dozen cops surrounded their apartment unit, causing an unnecessarily scary and violent scene in our building and on the surrounding streets for hours.” Last names of witnesses have been omitted upon request of privacy.
Currently, the USC-housing division has consented to the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), LAPD, and Department of Public Safety (DPS) returning to Jones and Love’s home. It’s been reported that they have returned with battery rams to potentially knock down the door.
At some point, Jones and Love have been left with the assumption that the authorities listed above were given a key authorized by USC-housing, permitting law enforcement to enter without a warrant present. According to Jones and Love, the social worker shared repeatedly that she is looking to separate their newborn child from them.
L.A. Sentinel has reached to the LAPD for their response to this incident, they released the following statement, “On July 12, 2021, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) became aware of a social media post by California State Senator Sydney Kamlager alleging that LAPD Officers drew their guns on a father and his new baby. The LAPD immediately reviewed the facts and circumstances of this incident, which also included the review of the Officers’ Body Worn videos.
It was revealed that on June 27, 2021 LAPD officers responded to the 800 Block of West Adams Blvd, Regal Trojan Student Housing, at the University of Southern California after a radio call was created to meet with a social worker from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
The officers were asked by DCFS to respond to conduct a welfare check on a baby after the mother recently gave birth and left the hospital with the child against medical advice. After the officers met with the social worker at the location, they escorted the social worker to an apartment. A male adult inside the home refused to open the door and let them check on the welfare of the baby after being repeatedly asked to do so by the social worker, officers, and an LAPD supervisor at the scene.
As the officers entered the apartment, they were concerned for their safety as they cleared the apartment for any threats and made sure the male inside was not armed. The male adult was briefly detained but none of the occupants were arrested. The baby and mother were not in the same room as the male adult and no weapons were ever pointed at the mother and child.
No crime report has been completed for this incident. The LAPD has initiated a personnel complaint to address the allegations raised by the social media post. An LAPD Staff level command officer has reached out to Senator Kamlager to provide details of this incident. The LAPD strives to treat all persons with dignity and respect and we will continue our commitment to transparency while ensuring the safety of our officers in turbulent and dangerous situations.”
The LA County Department of Health Services (DHS) also provided the following statement,
“All of our hospitals have a singular primary goal—and obligation—which is the health and safety of all the patients we serve.
In general, when a mother delivers a baby outside of our hospital facilities, and both mom and baby are transported and admitted as patients to our Hospital, we are legally responsible for assessing their health and providing care and treatment when necessary.
Due to patient privacy laws, we cannot comment on any specific medical case without written consent from the patient and/or guardian.
Patients, including parents/guardians of patients, have the right to refuse care, medication, and hospitalization and our hospitals respect that right.
As healthcare workers, our staff also must adhere to mandated reporting guidelines, by law, which means that we must report any reasonable suspicion to appropriate Children and Family Services so they can investigate. To be very clear: in general, our hospital staff does not report to law enforcement and the refusal of care, medication and hospitalization does not automatically trigger legal reporting mandates.”
As Fari-Love took her first breath on earth, the couple faced a reality of Black families; their memories of their first child being born are filled with stress, anxiety, and displacement of their livelihood. A different air surrounds their neighborhood because Jones and Love decided to exercise their right to choose the destiny for their child.