New York City 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, reports the New York Daily News.
The agreement to revise the rules in the NYPD’s Patrol Guide came as the result of a federal lawsuit over the woman’s treatment in the Bronx’s 47th Precinct, where she went 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 police department said Thursday.
The 27-year-old woman was 40 weeks pregnant when officers arrested her for a misdemeanor charge stemming from an incident five months earlier. Her lawsuit says cops had “no urgent need” to bust her that day.
Police cuffed the woman and held her at the 47th Precinct for nine hours without being given food or water. When she went into labor, she was taken to a hospital and shackled at the wrists and ankles, despite the “vehement protests” of doctors. “Moments before Ms. Doe delivered her daughter, a growing chorus of outraged doctors convinced the NYPD to briefly remove her shackles,” her lawsuit says.
“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.” New York law has banned the shackling of pregnant women in custody since 2009.