The City of New York has just agreed to pay $610k to a woman police kept shackled while in labor.
The woman, known only as Jane Doe, was arrested in Bronx County Family Court for violating an order of protection that was part of a child custody dispute with her former partner, according to her attorney Katherine Rosenfeld.
Rosenfeld claims that Doe, was 40 weeks pregnant and there was no urgent reason to arrest her when she-she went into labor in a Bronx jail hours after her arrest on February 7, 2018.
According to the complaint, she was taken from jail to New York’s Montefiore Medical Center the next morning with mcuffs on her wrists and shackles on her feet, binding her legs together at the ankles.
The NY Daily News reports that shackling pregnant women in police custody or prison was banned in New York State, starting in 2009. The policy was updated in 2015 to include the use of any restraints on pregnant women.
Doctors at Montefiore hospital appealed to the officers to remove the restraints, saying that it could potentially endanger the woman and her child, the complaint said. When doctors appealed to a police supervisor, they were told that shackling was NYPD policy, according to the complaint.
“While she was in the NYPD’s custody, Ms. Doe never struggled, resisted, or acted in any way that would even remotely support the use of restraints,” the complaint said.
Finally, after repeated protests from her doctors, the officers removed the shackles minutes before she gave birth, the complaint said. They shackled her again shortly after she delivered her baby.
“Ms. Doe was terrified for herself and for her baby,” the complaint read.
The lawsuit accused the defendants- listed as the city, NYPD and the officers involved-of assault, unlawful use of restraints and violations of the woman’s constitutional rights.
As part of the settlement, the NYPD did not assume any wrongdoing.