What to Know
- Six-year-old Zymere Perkins is being mourned at a Brooklyn funeral Friday, paid for in part by NYPD detectives
- Zymere died Sept. 26 after what prosecutors say was months of abuse by his mother and her boyfriend
- City officials have acknowledged that the mother, Geraldine Perkins, was investigated five times for abuse allegations
The 6-year-old New York City boy who died last week after allegedly being abused by his mother's boyfriend was mourned at a packed funeral service Friday night, paid for by NYPD detectives who were touched by the tragic case.
Zymere Perkins died Sept. 26 after what prosecutors say was months of abuse by his mother and her boyfriend. On the day he died, his mother's boyfriend allegedly beat him with a broomstick and hung him by his shirt over the back of the bathroom door, apparently enraged when the boy defecated in the living room of their Hamilton Heights apartment.
Zymere was left on the bed unconscious and when he didn't wake up, was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.
NYPD detectives, who investigated Perkins' case, have raised over $9,000 to help pay for the boy's wake and funeral, police confirmed.
"It was the least we could do," one detective told The New York Post. "The poor kid went through hell."
Friends and family remembered Zymere at services at the Church of the Open Door in Brooklyn Friday night.
"He didn't get a chance to live his life," said a former neighbor named Jamal. "For his life to be taken so suddenly, I'm heartbroken."
"No little kid should be taken like that," said another neighbor, Jiniah Spruill.
The boy had spent time in a homeless shelter with his mother before living in the squalid, roach-infested Hamilton Heights apartment, sources have told NBC 4. He had not been attending school this year.
Both his mother, Geraldine Perkins, and her boyfriend, Rysheim Smith, have been arrested on charges of endangering the welfare of a child. Their attorneys did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
City officials have acknowledged that the mother was investigated five times for abuse allegations.
Mayor de Blasio said the death of a 6-year-old boy whose family had been investigated for child abuse "should not have happened."
De Blasio said Wednesday that Zymere Perkins' death was "an unacceptable tragedy" and added that "the buck stops here."
The sentiment was echoed at Zymere's funeral.
"It could have been prevented. They went there before," neighbor Calvin Hurt said, referring to the city's child services workers.
"No child should die like this," said family pastor Rev. Mark V.C. Taylor. "We need to make sure we're never in this position again."
Gladys Carrion, the commissioner of children's services, admitted in a tearful interview with the I-Team that "we can't keep every child safe."
Carrion said in the interview Tuesday that "just one fatality is one too many" but declined to discuss any details about the boy's case. She said that it was too early to characterize whether her agency dropped the ball and added that the staff who handled Perkins' case were in bad shape.
Five ACS employees were placed on modified duty after Perkins' death, and Carrion didn't rule out the possibility she could be fired.