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Doctors Protested as NYPD Shackled Her During Labor

City settles with 'Jane Doe' for $610K
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2019 4:08 AM CDT
"The NYPD owes Ms. Doe a public apology for this incident, but the payment of this settlement and the revision of its policies will have to serve that function," lawyer Katherine Rosenfeld says.   (Getty Images/Rawf8)

(Newser) – A pregnant Bronx woman "never struggled, resisted, or acted in any way that would even remotely support the use of restraints" while she was in police custody last year, a lawsuit says—but she was still forced to go through a difficult labor with handcuffs on her wrists and shackles on her legs. New York City has agreed to pay $610,000 to the woman, identified in the lawsuit as "Jane Doe," CNN reports. She was 40 weeks pregnant when she was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of violating a protective order in a child custody case and went into labor just nine hours later. New York state law bans shackling pregnant prisoners during labor and delivery, but the officers who accompanied her to the hospital told doctors that shackling was NYPD policy. They did not relent when doctors told them the restraints could endanger the woman and her baby.

"Moments before Ms. Doe delivered her daughter, a growing chorus of outraged doctors convinced the NYPD to briefly remove her shackles," the lawsuit states, per the New York Daily News. She was shackled again soon after giving birth, had to feed her newborn daughter with one arm cuffed to the bed, and was not freed from the restraints until nine hours later. The city did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement, but it agreed to revise guidelines for officers. "No woman should ever have to go through the traumatic experience that I went through," the 28-year-old woman tells the New York Times. She says she will never tell her daughter—or any other family members—about the circumstances of the birth. (Read more NYPD stories.)

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