Tameka Foster Raymond requested an emergency hearing for temporary custody a day after the former couple’s 5-year-old son got caught in a pool drain under the care of Rena Oden, Usher’s Grammy-winning aunt, at his Atlanta home. After nearly two hours, Fulton County Superior Judge, John Goger, dismissed her request, and Usher will keep custody of his two young sons. As the hearing played out in court, and the media awaited a decision, it seems the testimony of Tameka Raymond was more of a blame game; however, is it unwarranted?
According to an Atlanta police report, Monday Usher Raymond V, the older of the Raymond children, fell to the bottom of the pool and became stuck in the drain. A housekeeper and Rena Oden both tried to free him, but did not succeed. Fortunately, a contractor doing work at the home was able to pull the child from the pool to safety and perform CPR. When emergency medical workers arrived, police said the boy was “conscious, alert and breathing.”
Papers filed in court by Tameka Raymond said the unsupervised youngster “suffered a near-death accident,” while Usher was out of town. Tameka Raymond was clearly emotional. During her testimony, and as the 911 call was played for the courtroom, Tameka Raymond cried until at one point she was sobbing so hard that she had to step down from the witness stand to regain her composure. One cannot help but wonder if the death of her son, Kile Glover, who died a year ago in a Jet Ski accident, played a part in her intense emotional breakdown. According to ET news, Tameka Raymond stated, “The bottom line is my son basically expired. My son had to be revived and brought back to life. My son basically had died on the scene, from what I was told by the doctor.” She further argued that the child “was with a caregiver — not called a nanny, but acting as a nanny — who does not swim, who clearly did not administer CPR, or have CPR training because my son was rescued by two workers that were in the basement putting in audio/visual equipment.” The issues even got personal during the hearing. “He doesn’t confer with me regarding anything,” Tameka Raymond said, explaining that she never knows where Usher is, where the children are, and who is taking care of them. Tameka Raymond alleges that Usher isn’t home “85%” of the time. The most shocking comments were those made during the testimony about the accident that caused her to take action. She alleged in her testimony that it took Usher about an hour after the incident happened to call her, and when contact was made, he told her that Usher V had been injured in an accident and “had a cut on his arm.” Basically, Usher made the accident seem a lot less severe than it actually was. Later, she arrived at the hospital to find out the accident had been much more serious. According to Entertainment Tonight, when Tameka Raymond was asked about the child’s condition in a later interview, she claimed “there are several issues that I’m concerned about that don’t seem quite normal.”
Of course, Usher Raymond and those defending him had a different story. Contrary to what Tameka Raymond claimed, the children were not unsupervised. Usher’s aunt, Rena Oden, was poolside watching the children when the older child became stuck in the drain, and she also tried—though unsuccessfully—to pull the boy to safety. Usher was not out of town. In fact he was at a music studio one highway exit away, said Usher’s lawyer, John Mayoue. Portraying Tameka Raymond as the villainess, Mayoue even said that Tameka Raymond used the accident to revisit the custody battle and gain publicity rather than being grateful that the young child is alive. He further contended the incident was an accident, and that those at the home helped save the child’s life. “This was an accident that could happen to anyone with adult supervision,” Mayoue told the court. “He wants to be at his son’s side at the hospital. He doesn’t want to be here today.” Usher, too, made significant claims himself. “I had no reason to suspect something was wrong with the pool,” Usher said. “I had never been made aware that there was an issue with the pool.” When notified of the accident, Usher said he immediately drove home and got into the ambulance with his hysterical and scared son. “He just wanted me to put a Band-Aid on it” was the remarks he made about the cut. He also admits that he waited until he was at the hospital to call his ex about the situation, but even he still did not have a clear understanding of how serious the accident actually was. Usher, also, spoke on how he keeps his ex-wife informed about the children in weekly emails. Should this console Tameka Raymond?
To the this argument Goger said that a lack of communication between two divorced parents did not amount to danger for either child. Goger also said, after hearing from both sides, he was not certain anyone could have done anything to prevent the accident. Furthermore, Coger thought Tameka Raymond’s standards for a caregiver were unusually high, as many people leave their children with family members. “Your standards for a caregiver are rather high,” Goger told Raymond before dismissing the request. “I think most of the people in this room have been cared for by a grandmother or an aunt or a neighbor, and I don’t think there’s anything remarkable about that.” However, he did note Usher must keep his ex-wife well advised of his whereabouts and who is taking care of the children. After the judge issued his ruling, Usher gave his wife a hug. Both Usher Raymond and Tameka Raymond are scheduled to be back in court later this month for a hearing about future custody. Usher has had full custody of the couple’s sons, ages 4 and 5, for nearly a year, and for now, that is where they will remain.
By: Kimberly Scott