BROOKLYN — The life of Zymere Perkins added up to more than the tragic details of his death recapped in the news.
In a eulogy Friday night, Rev. Mark V.C. Taylor at the Church of the Open Door urged hundreds of mourners packed in the pews to remember "ZyZy" — his family nickname — as the little boy who loved Spider-man and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with a smile that would "captivate anyone’s heart,” as his obituary read.
“You could tell he had joy in his life,” Taylor said. “He had moments of peace.”
Zymere’s family, who did not speak to the press, sat in the first several rows, often shouting, standing up and raising their hands in affirmation to the pastor’s eulogy and singing along to church hymns.
During the procession one inconsolable relative could be hearing crying out, “My baby, my baby.”
Police said Zymere died after being beaten unconscious with a broomstick by his mother’s boyfriend at the couple’s West Harlem apartment in late September, according to police.
Zymere's mother, 26-year-old Geraldine Perkins, was arrested last month along with her 42-year-old boyfriend Rysheim Smith, and both were charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
In a jailhouse interview with DNAinfo New York, Perkins said she felt threatened in the relationship, and if she knew how to leave, Zymere could be alive.
At the funeral, Taylor said “an act of evil” took Zymere’s life.
“The one who did this did the work of the devil,” Taylor said.
Taylor’s eulogy then pivoted, saying the city failed to protect Zymere from the abuse by his mother’s boyfriend, which police said cost the boy his life.
“Zymere’s life matters,” he said, pointing to the small white casket, where Zymere was dressed in all white. “It should matter to the city of New York.”
“We ought to be a church, we ought to be a community, we ought to be a city, we ought to be a society that can protect its children from evil monsters wherever they are,” he added.
Taylor also said during the eulogy that reforming the Administration for Children’s Services, which is currently being investigated for its handling of the five cases involving Zymere, could prevent more child deaths.
“ACS should make sure they plug up the hole that allows children to fall through and come to the point of death,” he said, shouting to a round of applause and a standing ovation.
“I have to say it to the city, to the mayor… I got to say it to you, I got to say it to myself: His life mattered,” Taylor said. “I don’t care about the politics; I just want something done."