After an African-American mother filed a lawsuit alleging NYPD officers of shackling her wrists and ankles while she was in labor in 2018, the city of New York agreed to pay her $750,000 on Wednesday.
According to CNN, the anonymous woman filed a lawsuit against the city of New York and a number of New York Police Department personnel. According to the lawsuit, the African-American mother was arrested on a misdemeanor offense on the day she gave birth – two days past her due date.
Although the city agreed to pay the mother and her child the settlement, court filings claim that this does not indicate the defendants in the case have acknowledged the woman’s rights were violated.
The woman told the news organization that she was tied to a hospital bed while in delivery. She further claims that officers did not transport her to the hospital where she was meant to give delivery, but to another location in the city. She claimed that she was not attended to by the physician who handled her prenatal care and that she was unable to have her family and the baby’s father at her side during the birth.
“That was not my intention when I was born. “I felt like a failure to my unborn child because it wasn’t anything either of us had planned,” she explained. “After that, I just didn’t feel like myself.” It’s as though my memory has been erased. And I’m still in pain.”
The woman’s attorneys also told CNN that their client did not resist arrest and did not constitute a flight risk after her detention in December 2018. The NYPD then dropped the misdemeanor charge and closed the investigation, according to them.
“This baby’s first breath on this planet was born in a moment of violence. The NYPD’s treatment of her was “violence,” according to attorney Anne Oredeko. “This lawsuit was intended to provide her with some sort of consolation, but there’s no way to fix that — money will never fix that. And she cannot get that moment back.”
The arresting police were accused of knowing the plaintiff was heavily pregnant but nevertheless taking her into custody despite the fact that “there was no urgent necessity to arrest (her) that day,” according to the lawsuit. She also told CNN she had started having contractions two days prior to her detention. Her contractions lasted several hours while she was in detention, she added, and she was only helped by another female inmate. During that time, she said, the precinct personnel was at a holiday party.
“It was a lady in the next cell adjacent to me. She was chatting to me the entire time, and she could hear my pain. She kept a close eye on the clock for me,” she recounted.
“But everyone was at a Christmas party, and nobody was around – to the point that the next shift was the only time I got any attention. That made me feel as if they didn’t give a damn.”
Despite a nurse’s plea, she was eventually brought to a hospital and shackled to her bed. According to the lawsuit, an officer said that he couldn’t remove the shackles because of an unclear policy. After “nurses warned him that (she) needed to begin pushing and that the handcuffs were preventing her from having an epidural,” he eventually removed them.
“The nurse who was assisting me was my only source of support,” the woman told CNN. “No one – not my family, friends, or acquaintances — just total strangers.”
This isn’t the first time a lady has been forced to give birth while detained by the NYPD. In February 2018, a woman filed a lawsuit saying that she was shackled in her hospital bed while giving birth. The city also promised to study and revise the NYPD Patrol Guide in exchange for a $610,000 settlement with her.
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