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Black Woman Was Shackled To Her Bed By Police During Labour

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Black Woman Was Shackled To Her Bed By Police During Labour

An African American woman has settled a lawsuit with the City of New York and the New York Police Department (NYPD) after her wrists and ankles were shackled to a gurney during labour.

The anonymous woman was arrested on a misdemeanour assault charge two days after her due date in 2018. She went into labour the day of her arrest, CNN reports. The charge was later dismissed.

At the time of her arrest she had already been experiencing contractions for two days, she told CNN. Another woman in her holding cell where she was detained "for hours" helped her keep track of her contractions.

At the time of her arrest she had already had contractions for two days (Credit: Unsplash)
At the time of her arrest she had already had contractions for two days (Credit: Unsplash)
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She told the news site she ended up having to give birth handcuffed to her hospital bed and was taken to a hospital in a different part of the city from where she had originally planned.

In the delivery room a nurse reportedly asked a police officer to remove the handcuffs but was told he was unable to due to an unspecified "policy".

The handcuffs were removed temporarily to allow the woman to have an epidural. The officer eventually agreed after nurses informed that the woman needed to push, CNN reports.

Just an hour after her baby boy was born, she was handcuffed once again and she struggled to breastfeed her newborn, according to the suit.

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She told CNN: "My only support was the nurse that was helping me. Nobody - not my family, not my friends - just complete strangers."

The woman said she struggled to breastfeed her newborn because of the handcuffs (Credit: Shutterstock)
The woman said she struggled to breastfeed her newborn because of the handcuffs (Credit: Shutterstock)

The handcuffs were removed for the last time the day after she gave birth following a video arraignment. She and her baby were discharged the next day.

On Wednesday a judge approved a $750,000 (£541,721.25) settlement for the mother of two after she filed the suit in October. She sought damages for "emotional distress, a violation of her civil rights, punitive damages, attorney fees and costs."

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According to CNN, the settlement specifies that it is not "an admission by the defendants that they violated the woman's rights."

A different woman said she was shackled during labour in a 2018 lawsuit (Credit: Shutterstock)
A different woman said she was shackled during labour in a 2018 lawsuit (Credit: Shutterstock)

And this is not the first time a woman has been shackled by the NYPD while giving birth. In 2018, ABC News reported a similar case where an anonymous woman - whose race was not specified - experienced similar treatment despite the doctor's pleas.

She woman was paid $610,000 (£440,599.95) from the city as part of her settlement.

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In 2015, it was made illegal to use restraints of any kind a pregnant woman in labour in a hospital, institution or clinic for delivery state of New York. However, the law does allow some exceptions if police officers consult with the chief medical officer and determine that the restraints are necessary for the safety of the mother and staff.

CNN requested asked New York City's Law Department for comment in regards to this law.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: Life News, Life, Pregnant

Gregory Robinson
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