Brooklyn’s ‘bling’ pastor claims he was protecting his family

Brooklyn’s ‘bling’ pastor claims he did not throttle female congregant who got on pulpit and says he was saving his family: New footage shows woman cursing at his wife and 10-month baby

  • Bishop Lamar Whitehead, 44, was filmed apparently grabbing a woman who interrupted his service by the neck on Sunday
  • He now insists that the woman was heading directly for his wife and 10 month old daughter when he grabbed her by the shoulder
  • Whitehead, 44, has released surveillance footage to back up his claims
  • Meanwhile, the woman, Tarsha Howard, said he is spinning the facts and that she is the true victim of the assault
  • She claims she was simply praying when Whitehead lunged at her
  • Howard was  charged with trespassing and disrupting a religious service

Brooklyn’s controversial bling pastor has doubled down on his claims that he did not throttle a female congregant at his service on Sunday, as he insists he was just trying to protect his family when he grabbed her.

Bishop Lamar Whitehead, 44, was caught on his church’s livestream giving his sermon at the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Canarsie when he apparently grabbed a woman who interrupted his service by the neck.  

But the flashy pastor now insists the woman was heading directly for his wife and 10 month old daughter when he grabbed her by the shoulder, releasing surveillance footage that seems to prove his claims.

Whitehead said he was afraid she might have a weapon in her purse, after he was robbed of $40,000 worth of swag at gunpoint back in July.

He also asserted that the altercation came in retaliation to lawsuits he filed against two YouTubers who accused him of stealing from his congregation.

The woman, Tarsha Howard, was later arrested and was charged Monday with trespassing and disrupting a religious service.

She has since claimed that the pastor assaulted her as she was praying — and received a restraining order against the controversial pastor in court on Monday.

Surveillance footage from the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Canarsie shows Tarsha Howard interrupting Bishop Lamar Whitehead's sermon

She then approached the altar during Sunday's services

Surveillance footage from the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Canarsie shows Tarsha Howard interrupting Bishop Lamar Whitehead’s sermon before she approached the altar during Sunday’s services

The pastor eventually grabbed her and ran Howard out of the Brooklyn church

The pastor eventually grabbed her and ran Howard out of the Brooklyn church

Whitehead, 44, claims the woman was charging at his wife and 10 month old daughter, cursing at them before he intervened. He is pictured here with his family

Whitehead, 44, claims the woman was charging at his wife and 10 month old daughter, cursing at them before he intervened. He is pictured here with his family

In an interview with TMZ Live, Whitehead said that surveillance footage from the Canarsie church proved Howard was charging at his family before he grabbed her.

The footage — which he later posted to Facebook —shows Howard approaching the altar where he is standing.

She then starts gesturing at him and pointing at him as she speaks to the congregation.

Soon, Whitehead could be seen coming up to her as people in the congregation start to clap.

Howard appears to walk away, only to double back past the pastor to where his wife is holding his 10 month old baby.

At that point, the pastor lunges at her and grabs her, running her out of the church.  

Though there is no sound with the video,  Whitehead insists she was cursing out his family and calling them ‘liars.’

‘She just came on the side of me and started cursing me out, cursing me out,’ he told TMZ Live. ‘I said “OK no problem.” And I told my church “Let’s pray” and “Let’s clap,” then I told her “OK you gotta get out of here, you gotta go.”‘

That’s when, he said, Howard started walking towards his family.

‘I felt that she was going to hurt them,’ he claimed. ‘I grabbed her by the back of the shirt, and some of her hair was in my hand, and I had her shoulder — I never touched her neck.’

He also reiterated the claims in an Instagram video, wearing a Fendi sweater and a gold chain. 

‘I grabbed her by the back of her shirt, and I had some of her hair and I had the microphone in my left hand,’ he said. ‘How in the world did I choke her?’

‘It’s impossible to choke a person, first of all, from behind and with only one hand.’ 

Video posted to YouTube shows the moment Bishop Lamar Whitehead apparently shoved a woman after she interrupted his sermon Sunday

Video posted to YouTube shows the moment Bishop Lamar Whitehead apparently shoved a woman after she interrupted his sermon Sunday

The bishop also doubled down on his assertion that Howard had been sent by two podcasters he is suing for $40 million after they claimed he was stealing from his church.

In a Facebook Live video following the altercation, Whitehead said: ‘We had some visitor in the church, and they were sent by two nobodies — two bloggers who are nobodies.

‘And they were sent into my church to disrupt my church,’ he alleged.

Whitehead then explained that he has ‘lawsuits out, and when retaliation is retaliation, this is what it is.

‘They came in videoing, and it was a whole set-up,’ he alleged.

He then reiterated that claim in his interview with TMZ on Monday, saying: ‘There was a plan and a scheme.

‘I found out last night that these young ladies had plotted this whole rendition to disturb my church.’

Following the altercation, Whitehead claimed she was sent to the church by two YouTubers he is suing for $40 million as he insists he grabbed her by the shoulder

Following the altercation, Whitehead claimed she was sent to the church by two YouTubers he is suing for $40 million as he insists he grabbed her by the shoulder

Following the altercation, both Howard and Whitehead were taken out of the church in handcuffs — but Whitehead was released two hours later without being charged.

He is now demanding an apology from the NYPD for arresting him in front of his family and his congregation, claiming he was only let free without charges after department ‘higher ups’ intervened.

‘I’m a black man. That’s the only reason why they did it,’ he told the New York Daily News. ‘I did nothing wrong.

‘How do I call the police and the police that I call arrest me?’ 

Meanwhile, Howard told the Daily News that Whitehead is skewing the facts and that she is the real victim of the assault.

She posted a photo of a cut to her neck she claims she got in the scuffle. 

Tarsha Howard claims she was praying when the pastor grabbed her on Sunday

She posted a photo of a cut to her neck she allegedly got in the altercation to social media

She posted a photo of a cut to her neck she allegedly got in the altercation to social media

Howard said she decided to attend his service on Sunday because she was ‘intrigued’ by the flashy pastor after he was robbed back in July, and thought he would be a good case study for a book she is writing on religious leadership in the black community.

‘His ushers invited me in,’ she said. ‘I went upstairs. They said, “Come on in.” I went in. They did the [COVID] temperature thermometer and they ushered me to sit down.’

She also noted that after she apparently interrupted Whitehead’s sermon, ‘He actually invited me up to the front of the church. He said “Come up here.” I went up there.’

Video from the incident shows Whitehead abruptly stopped his sermon to listen to someone in the crowd

‘Let ’em record, let ’em record,’ he tells his congregation, before deciding to take a ‘pause’ as a woman could be heard screaming at him.

‘You want to come preach?’ the bishop asks her. ‘You want to come preach, come up here. I’m gonna make you famous, yes Lord.’

He then starts asking the congregation to praise Jesus, while speaking in tongues, only to end his prayer by saying: ‘Now remove her out of here, move her out of here.’

Whitehead then seems to want to move on from the situation, telling his congregation: ‘Let’s give Jesus a round of applause, y’all.’

He continues to repeat the message ‘while they take the pictures.

‘Take the pictures, take the pictures,’ he eggs them on.

That is when Howard, wearing a brown and pink floral top, enters from the left side of the screen as Whitehead gets increasingly close to her.

Howard said she was praying at the time.

‘I am a born again Chrstian, so I started praying,’ she told the Daily News. ‘And then out of nowhere, he lunged at me, and that’s what you see on video.

‘He lunged after me and dragged me out of the church and there was no communication as to why that happened.’ 

The altercation on Sunday came as Whitehead was giving his sermon at the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Canarsie, Brooklyn

He was soon interrupted by a woman in the congregation

The altercation on Sunday came as Whitehead was giving his sermon at the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Canarsie, Brooklyn and was interrupted by a woman in the congregation

As she approached the altar, he got increasingly close to the woman before he grabbed her

As she approached the altar, he got increasingly close to the woman before he grabbed her

 Howard denies she approached his family, and that she was the one video taping the service.

‘He has twisted things around, and said that I disrupted a religious service, and I did not,’ she said, adding that she thinks the presence of another podcaster at the service led to her arrest.

‘I don’t have anything to do with her,’ Howard said of the podcaster, who was seen recording Whitehead’s Rolls Royce on the street outside the church Sunday.

‘She’s also, I think, the reason why I got arrested because she’s out there with the cameras taunting this man. I did not go out there to do that.’

She said she is now worried about the pastor’s apparently combative side.

‘At the end of the day, I’m focused on why he could assault a woman,’ she told the Daily News. ‘Because when the robbers came into his establishment, the church, he laid on the floor. He did not fight those people.

‘I was not a threat,’ she added. ‘I did not have a gun.’ 

Whitehead wore a Fendi blazer as he spoke to the press outside the 5th Precinct where Andrew Abdullah was brought in for questioning

Whitehead wore a Fendi blazer as he spoke to the press outside the 5th Precinct where Andrew Abdullah was brought in for questioning

Whitehead has become a controversial figure since a wild video showed him being robbed at his church on July 24 while preaching to his congregation wearing a maroon suit, long gold chain and a large ring on each finger.

He was videoed telling his congregants: ‘How many of you have lost your faith because you saw somebody else die?’

He is then seen going down on his knees when the robbers approach and can be heard saying: ‘All right, all right.’

The men were then seen circling around the stage as they robbed the bishop, his wife and the congregation.

He later said on Instagram that the robbers aimed a gun at his back while they took his bishops cross and the jewelry he was wearing from on top of and under his shirt. 

Bishop Whitehead said: ‘I told everyone to get down. I didn’t know if they wanted to shoot the church up or were coming for a robbery. 

‘They took all my wife’s jewelry and all my jewelry.’

The churchman also said he ran after the robbers and saw them take off their masks and get away in a white Mercedes. 

Police confirmed that the robbery stole $400,000-worth of jewelry in Canarsie around 11.15am. 

Whitehead later said he may have been targeted due to the help he provided accused murdered Andrew Abdullah.

The 25-year-old allegedly killed a Goldman Sachs employee on the subway earlier this year by shooting him at point blank range.

The pastor turned up with his $350,000 Rolls-Royce and wearing a Fendi blazer to negotiate the surrender of the thug.

DeMario Jives, who has 80,000 YouTube subscribers, is being sued  for $20 million by Whitehead for telling his audience the bishop was 'drug dealing'

DeMario Jives, who has 80,000 YouTube subscribers, is being sued  for $20 million by Whitehead for telling his audience the bishop was ‘drug dealing’

Larry Reid, who Whitehead is also suing for $20 million, allegedly told his online audience that the blingy bishop scams people out of money and will soon be behind bars

Larry Reid, who Whitehead is also suing for $20 million, allegedly told his online audience that the blingy bishop scams people out of money and will soon be behind bars

In the aftermath, two YouTubers, DeMario Jives and Larry Reid accused him of stealing from his congregation to afford his luxurious lifestyle.

Jives allegedly said on his YouTube channel that the bishop ‘is wearing the same jewelry that (he) got robbed in’ and ‘is out here drug dealing,’ while Reid claimed that the pastor ‘scammed people out of money’ and ‘will be locked up in about three months’.

Whitehead has since filed twin lawsuits against the YouTubers seeking $40 million in damages.

The new lawsuits allege the two men have cost Whitehead ‘business deals, church members, and income’.

One reads: ‘As a result of (the defendants’) conduct, Plaintiff lost business deals, church members and income.’

It adds: ‘(Defendants) are liable to Plaintiff for defamation, libel per se and slander per se.’

His attorney said there will be ‘many more’ similar lawsuits coming to ‘aggressively’ prosecute people making ‘defamatory statements’ about Whitehead.

Whitehead has become a controversial figure since a wild video showed him being robbed at his church on July 24. He is known for his luxurious lifestyle, and is seen here in a green Gucci suit while sitting in his Rolls Royce

Whitehead has become a controversial figure since a wild video showed him being robbed at his church on July 24. He is known for his luxurious lifestyle, and is seen here in a green Gucci suit while sitting in his Rolls Royce

He has forged ties with New York City Mayor Eric Adams

He has forged ties with New York City Mayor Eric Adams

Whitehead was also accused of stealing the lifesavings of one of his congregants, according to a separate Brooklyn lawsuit detailed by the NY Post

Pauline Anderson, 56, accused Whitehead of talking her into handing over her lifesavings of $90,000 on the understand that he would then buy and renovate a home for her.

The Bishop also reportedly said he would pay the woman $100 a month because the savings had been her sole source of income. 

But the monthly allowance was paid just once and Whitehead eventually stopped responding to inquiries from Anderson about the status of her house.

He later allegedly told the woman that he had invested her money into his company and was not obligated to return it to her.

The spiritual leader previously spent five years behind bars for charges of identity fraud and grand larceny.

But a prison sentence and public robbery haven’t stopped him from becoming close with NYC Mayor Eric Adams and generally carrying on with his extravagant lifestyle.

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