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« My baby is days old and you are taking my baby away from me, » said Mercado. « You have no heart. This is so wrong. »
Posted on Aug 12, 2021 at 7:45 PM ET
Syesha Mercado, a former American Idol contestant and Broadway performer, had two of her young children stolen from her by Florida authorities in the past six months.
Mercado and her partner Tyron Deener, the Black have been working for months for the return of their 15-month-old son Amen’Ra, who was placed in foster care after a routine visit by the couple to hospital.
On Wednesday, Mercado and Deener were driving their newborn daughter when authorities were driving The couple’s car stopped and insisted on a roadside social check which eventually resulted in their taking the baby, which sparked outrage on social media.
The couple was not warned about the security check and their lawyer was not previously contacted, according to an Instagram live video Deener posted during the encounter at the crime scene. The cell phone video, which was about an hour long, garnered over 600,000 views and nearly 7,000 comments in one day. « We are currently being detained by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department, » says Deener, adding that an « unmarked » police vehicle waited in front of her house and followed the family. « We are surrounded. … They warn us to deliver our newborn baby. »
In the video, Mercado and Deener are sitting in their car on the side of the road; he is in the driver’s seat and she is in the back seat, cradling the baby. They tell the officers that they want to take the baby to the hospital. They also reiterate that they had just taken their daughter to the doctor and that she was considered perfectly healthy, but officers interview Mercado and Deener and insist on taking the baby to the hospital for their own examination.
A case management team of the Child Protection Services had previously attempted a welfare check after learning about the newborn, but Mercado and Deener referred them to their attorney before they could visit. The agency then received signed orders from a judge to conduct a welfare check and secure the child’s property, as the video shows. « My baby is days old and you are taking my baby away from me, » Mercado says in the video . « You have no heart. This is so wrong. »
« You just had to call the lawyer. We have all the paperwork, » Mercado continues. “You have caused so much trauma. You just expect me to come outside and say, “Hi guys, you are my friends. You’re not my friends. ”Meanwhile, Mercado’s battle to regain custody of her son Amen’Ra from Manatee County Florida Child Protection Agency continues. The boy was removed from his parents when they were 13 months old when they were hospitalized for having difficulty getting him to accept fluids, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported. When Mercado and her daughter became pregnant, their breast milk was running low and Amen’Ra did not take any other fluids.
But officials accused the couple of malnutrition and placed Amen’Ra in a foster family. Critics of this decision pointed out that Sally Smith, the pediatrician who examined Amen’Ra at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, has been assessed for overly early diagnosis of child abuse.
BuzzFeed News has asked Mercado, her attorney, and Manatee County’s Child Protection Agency for comment.
Mercado’s situation has sparked an outcry on social media, with many people suggesting that their race is a big factor. Dana Sussman, assistant director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, said that many proponents refer to CPS as a « family police system » and that control over black families can be exercised anywhere from the delivery room to the pediatrician appointment.
« This system is rooted in our country’s history of slavery and regulates the reproduction of black mothers and black families, ”Sussman said. « It is rooted in the country’s belief that it can judge who can become parents and when … and it is inextricably linked to the racist systems of police, violence and poverty. »
She said watching the video from Mercado’s loss of her child was « incredibly confusing » and revealed an invisible system that weighs on black families. She added that usually when a child is abducted by CPS, a family is often « flagged » in the agency’s system, sometimes for years.
« When this mother becomes pregnant again, the fetus is in. » Essentially already in the system to be evaluated and monitored by the family, « said Sussman. « What I saw was this kind of suspicion … go on with the [Mercados] family. They have already been through so much. … It’s just another traumatic interaction with the system. »
The video, in which Mercado and Deener lost their daughter also sparked reactions from co-parents and supporters on social media.
« Their beautiful new baby was also stolen from them without their attorney being contacted. No warning. Nothing, » responded Bekah Martinez, a former undergraduate candidate and mother of two, on her Instagram story. « Ambushed and their baby was stolen … The system failed them. »
Martinez posted an email template and email addresses of local Florida officials, claiming their more than 750,000 Followers to come forward and request an investigation.
« I need you to get together with me and I need us to rally and I have to support that and I need us to do something today To change shit, « Tamas shouted to her 100,000+ followers.
Tamas grew up in foster care and recently sued Washington State for the negligence she experienced.
» The state does all the time Mistake, « she added. « My lawsuit is not the first and it will not be the last. … There is ample evidence that these children were not only safe and loved and cared for, but also extremely cared for. » that Mercado and Deener already have a child in the custody of the CPS, and that the agency tracked them down for Social Control. when Amen’Ra was taken, I now have some « tools », namely an attorney who can stand up for their rights.
Nicole Fallert is a Breaking News Fellow for Buzzfeed News and lives in Washington, DC.
A BuzzFeed News investigation conducted with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists based on thousands of documents the government refused to see.
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