Zymere Perkins (L) and Amir Cooley (R) eating ice cream in the spring of 2015.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 8:04 PM
Bree Coates recalls the ice cream clutched in Zymere Perkins’ tiny right hand last year, the grin spread across the little boy’s beaming face.
Now the 6-year-old is dead, and Coates — a witness to the beatings heaped on the helpless child — wonders if she also bore witness to the doomed child’s few moments of joy.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Coates told the Daily News. “Everybody knew (his mother) used to beat on him … I don’t understand why nobody did nothing. How do you do that to a little boy? He was a sweet little boy.”
Coates was one of two women who contacted the Daily News Wednesday with horrific tales of alleged abuse inflicted over and over on the adorable child by mom Geraldine Perkins and her hulking boyfriend Rysheim Smith.
Coates saw it with her own eyes, and Davana Miller heard it directly from the battered boy’s mouth. The dead child’s bruised body gave mute corroboration to their accounts, although autopsy results were pending.
Davana Miller, bandaged after she was beaten by Rysheim Smith and Geraldine Perkins. Perkins and Smith were arrested for the death of Perkins’ son Zymere Perkins on September 27, 2016 in Harlem, New York.
Both women claimed the city Administration for Children’s Services ignored their calls for help, leaving the boy to the heartless adults and their nightmarish beatdowns.
The two went public Wednesday with the devastating details of the boy’s short, violent life — one they believe was led in perpetual fear, with the constant threat of a beating.
According to Miller, the cruel couple once left the sweet and shy boy alone with a group of drug addicts at a Harlem homeless shelter while they celebrated Perkins’ birthday.
Coates recounted watching Smith beat the boy with his bare hands as Perkins looked the other way. The boy was terrified of both adults, she said.
Smith is escorted by NYPD detectives from the 30th Precinct on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 in Manhattan.
His mother never registered Zymere at school, or provided any regular hygiene. His teeth were rotting out of his mouth.
And the violence continued unabated. Zymere was trapped, with no safe haven to spare him.
“They beat on him,” Coates told The News. “She would hit him all the time … Zymere was scared to death. You could see it in his eyes, the fear in his eyes.”
Miller, 26, recounted a haunting conversation where Zymere told her about the constant assaults at home.
According to witnesses, Perkins and her boyfriend allegedly beat Zymere regularly.
“Zymere was the most sweetest little boy you could possibly meet,” Miller told The News. “For him to sit down and tell me this man (Smith) was beating on him … Everything he did, he got beat for.
“They brutally beat this baby. They don’t care about this baby.”
Miller was forced to get an order of protection and leave Queens after Perkins and Smith beat her senseless as retribution for her concern about Zymere.
The duo was outraged when Miller washed and fed Zymere while his mom and her boyfriend were out partying for Perkins’ July 2015 birthday, according to the victim.
Zymere Perkins died after being found covered in bruises in Harlem, New York on September 26, 2016.
“They jumped me and severely beat me in front of my (1-year-old) son, until my son couldn’t recognize my face,” said Miller, who lived alongside Zymere’s family in a Queens homeless shelter.
Miller was walking her boy in a stroller when the couple attacked, leaving her feeling as terrorized as the lovable little Zymere.
Coates, whose 4-year-old son was Zymere’s best buddy when they shared ice cream while living in a Harlem homeless shelter, said the child’s sense of terror was palpable.
“He was scared of his mother, and he was scared of Rysheim,” she recalled. “Every time he would see Rysheim, he would say, ‘Oh, don’t tell him, please don’t tell him I was being bad.’
“I pulled Geraldine aside one time and I said, ‘You cannot let this man beat on your son like this.’ She said, ‘Mind your business.’ ”