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'Terrified'

City of New York to pay $610,000 to a woman kept in handcuffs by police during labor

July 5, 2019

The city of New York has agreed to pay $610,000 to a woman kept in handcuffs and shackles by police while she was in labor.

As CNN reports, Jane Doe, as she is called in her lawsuit against the city, went into labor in a Bronx jail soon after being arrested on February 7, 2018, for violating an order of protection that was part of a child-custody dispute with her former partner.

The next morning, she was taken to New York’s Montefiore Medical Center with cuffs on her wrists and shackles on her feet, according to the suit. Doctors asked a police supervisor to remove the restraints, saying they could endanger the woman and her child, according to the suit, but the police said shackling was NYPD policy.

Shackling pregnant women in police custody was banned in New York state starting in 2009, CNN reports. The policy was updated in 2015 to include the use of any restraints on pregnant women.

“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. “Ms. Doe was terrified for herself and for her baby.”

After repeated appeals from the doctors, the officers removed the shackles minutes before the woman gave birth, according to the complaint, then shackled her again shortly after she gave birth.

As part of the settlement, the NYPD did not assume any wrongdoing, CNN reports. Detective Sophia Mason said in a statement that the department plans to amend its patrol guide “to better address safety and medical concerns” of women in late stages of pregnancy and childbirth. “At the same time, the NYPD will balance these needs with the safety of patients, medical staff, police officers, and others charged with the care and custody of all prisoners.”

Read the full story at CNN.

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