That appeared to have little effect on the 28-year-old pregnant Boca Raton woman who was brought into custody on a burglary charge in early September. According to Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes, the woman was pregnant “and also suffering from acute mental illness” when she was brought in.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel is not naming the woman to protect the identity of the baby boy, who is now in the custody of the Department of Children and Families. The woman was ordered released without bond on Sept. 29, two days after the child’s birth.
“She should have been kept in close monitoring by medical staff the entire length of her pregnancy or her incarceration,” said Weekes.
According to an arrest report, the woman was accused of staying illegally in a Lighthouse Point home for a week while the owner was out of state. The owner called police, who went to arrest the woman Sept. 6. She resisted by kicking at the officers and rolling on the ground, according to the report, which makes no mention of the woman’s pregnancy.
Days after her arrest, after officials knew she was pregnant, the woman got into an altercation with detention deputies and was pepper-sprayed, Weekes said.
The woman began complaining of pain and contractions Sept. 27, Weekes said in a letter to Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony.
“She was left alone in her cell while she was clearly screaming in pain,” he wrote. “Rather than make the appropriate health-related decisions to medically treat a mentally ill patient in crisis and tend to the needs of her unborn child, detention staff administered no medical assistance and merely stood idly by observing her pain from outside her cell.”
A request for comment from the Broward Sheriff’s Office, which runs the county jails, had not been returned as of mid-Thursday morning.