Keriann Smith Genoa City, Wisconsin mother pleads not guilty to child abuse after kneeling on teen’s son’s neck for 48 seconds asking him if he wanted to die like George Floyd.
Keriann C. Smith, 37, is charged with physical abuse of a child and strangulation/suffocation, both felonies, in an incident that allegedly occurred June 20 at the family’s apartment.
At a preliminary hearing Monday in Walworth County Circuit Court, a judge ordered Smith’s case to trial, ruling that there was probably cause to proceed with the charges against her.
Smith entered a plea of not guilty kenoshanews reports.
A status hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 17 before Circuit Judge Phillip Koss at the county courthouse in Elkhorn.
‘Tell me you can’t breathe’
Smith also is charged with misdemeanor drug charges and misdemeanor battery. If convicted on all charges, the mother of two children could face 14 years in prison.
Prosecutors allege that the Genoa City mother got into a physical altercation with her 14-year-old son and pinned to the floor with her knee on his neck. She then allegedly asked her son: ‘Do you want to know how George Floyd died? He died something like this. Do you want to die just like him?’
Smith also allegedly told her son: ‘Tell me you can’t breathe, tell me,’ invoking a phrase uttered by Floyd — ‘I can’t breathe’ — that has become a rallying cry for protesters.
At the time of the alleged assault, responded cops found a boy and a girl — who have not been identified — with visible injuries. The boy had reportedly called authorities, saying Smith was attempting to get into the room he was in. The girl also took a video of the incident showing Smith’s knee on the boy’s neck for 48 seconds.
The complaint also stated that the boy had a large red mark on his neck and a bite mark on his left shoulder. The girl reportedly also had a large red mark on the left side of her face. The girl had told authorities that the mark was because Smith has punched her in the face while she was attempting to break the fight. The woman, however, told police that she was attempting to take the boy’s phone away before they got into a confrontation.
Court records show that Smith’s two children no longer are living with her.
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