A pregnant woman who was shackled to a hospital bed for hours while in labor settled a lawsuit Wednesday, April 21, 2021, against the city of New York and several NYPD officers.
The unnamed mother of two — who was arrested on assault charges that were later dismissed — received $750,000 for a suit in which she alleged emotional distress and violations of her civil rights, according to CNN.
“That was not my birth plan. I felt like a failure to my unborn because that wasn’t something that was planned for [either] of us,” the woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the outlet. “And still I’m in pain.”
The woman was arrested at her home on Dec. 17, 2018, for a misdemeanor assault that allegedly happened the week before, and went into labor the same day, the lawsuit states.
Her wrists and ankles were then shackled by police for hours while she was giving birth — without the presence of the baby’s father, according to the lawsuit, which she filed anonymously in Eastern District of New York court in October.
“My only support was the nurse that was helping me,” the woman said. “Nobody — not my family, not my friends — just complete strangers.”
During the ordeal, an officer allegedly claimed he could not remove the restraints because of an unspecified policy, according to the suit.
The officer finally agreed to remove them after nurses told him she “needed to begin pushing and that the handcuffs were preventing her from receiving an epidural,” the lawsuit states.
The woman’s assault charge was later dismissed and sealed, according to her lawyers.
“The first breath that this baby had on this earth was one born out of violence. That was violence, what the NYPD did to her,” said her attorney, Anne Oredeko.
The NYPD declined to comment. The city’s law department didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
The settlement states that the agreement is not an admission by the defendants that they violated the woman’s rights.