NYPD to revise policy regarding shackling of pregnant women in custody

The policy changes are part of a $610,000 lawsuit settlement with a Bronx woman who was shackled during childbirth

By John Annese
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — Police rules allowing the shackling of pregnant women in custody will be revised under a $610,000 lawsuit settlement reached by the city this week.

The agreement to revise the rules in the NYPD's Patrol Guide comes in a federal lawsuit over the woman's treatment by police in the Bronx's 47th Precinct, who put her through a 30-hour ordeal last year in which she was shackled by foot and hand to a hospital bed as she gave birth.

"The NYPD anticipates amending its patrol guide to better address safety and medical concerns associated with arrestees in late stages of pregnancy as well as the exceptional circumstance of safeguarding an arrestee through child birth and until their arraignment," the NYPD said in a statement Thursday.

The 27-year-old Bronx resident was 40 weeks pregnant when officers arrested her on Feb. 7, 2018, for a misdemeanor charge stemming from an incident five months earlier with her ex. Her lawsuit says cops had "no urgent need" to bust her that day.

Police cuffed the woman and took her to the 47th Precinct, where she was held for 9 hours without being given food or water.

The officers then took her to Montefiore Medical Center after she experienced contractions. After the hospital visit, she remained in police custody.

Early the next morning, she went into labor, so cops took her to Montefiore and shackled her at the wrists and ankles, despite the "vehement protests" of doctors there.

"Moments before Ms. Doe delivered her daughter, a growing chorus of outraged doctors convinced the NYPD to briefly remove her shackles," the lawsuit says.

"At. 6:14 a.m., Jane Doe gave birth to her daughter. Shortly after she gave birth, NYPD officers again shackled her, ignoring the doctors' continued pleas. Ms. Doe struggled to feed her new baby with one arm."

Officers told the woman and her doctors that they were "following procedure," the lawsuit alleged.

New York law has banned the shackling of pregnant women in custody since 2009. The law was amended in in 2015 to bar any kind of restraints on pregnant inmates.

"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," the woman's lawyer, Katherine Rosenfeld, told CNN.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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