Note: Post has been updated below with press conference video and an update from the couple’s attorney.
Former “American Idol” finalist Syesha Mercado is now fighting to get two of her children back after authorities seized her newborn daughter.
On Wednesday, Syesha posted a video to her IG Live showing sheriff deputies in Manatee County, Florida, surrounding her car and forcing her to surrender her newborn daughter in a surprise welfare check, on the side of the road.
First off, since when are welfare checks held on the side of the road?
In the video, Syesha, her partner, Tyron Deener, and an older woman, who appears to be the mother of either Syesha or Tyron, are all in the vehicle trying to plead with the deputies not to take the baby.
The deputies said they were instructed to take the baby because the couple did not inform authorities that Syesha had given birth while in a legal battle over custody of her first child, Amen’ Ra.
Tyron explained to the deputies numerous times that they had requested that all calls go through their attorney, but he said that did not happen.
They told the deputies that the baby had just had a checkup the day before, and she was fine and healthy.
The deputies say they understand their situation, but they have been instructed to take the child.
In the video, Syesha begs the deputies not to take her daughter, as she informs them that the baby is breastfed.
She pumps a couple of ounces of breast milk into a bottle for her daughter, and she starts to slowly carry her over to the deputies.
Syesha cries and sobs prior to handing her baby over.
She tells the deputies that she has done a lot for the community, she was awarded the key to the city, and she has done nothing wrong.
Tyron pleads with the deputies to give her a moment and have some empathy.
How could you guys do this? Do you not feel anything.
My baby is days old and you’re taking my baby away from me.
You’re taking my baby away from me. You have no heart. This is so wrong.
My baby is healthy and happy.
All you had to do was call the attorney. We have all the paperwork.
Watch the very emotional video below:
In late February of this year, Syesha and Tyron took their one-year-old son, Amen’Ra, to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, for dehydration because he was struggling transitioning from breast milk to solid foods.
Amen’Ra was assessed by Dr. Sally Smith, who has an unfavorable reputation for being too quick to conclude caregivers are abusing children.
Dr. Smith was the subject of a USA Today Network investigation, which reviewed hundreds of her cases and found more than a dozen instances where charges were dropped or parents were acquitted.
Amen’Ra has not been with his parents since that hospital visit. He was placed in the hands of the Manatee Child Protective Services.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on Friday to NBC News saying it had received information from the hospital’s child abuse line that a boy was “severely malnourished.”
A child protective officer also accused Syesha of denying her son a B12 shot that the hospital recommended.
Syesha disputed both claims.
In a GOFundMe account she created to cover legal fees, she wrote:
Amen’Ra was forcefully and legally kidnapped from us by CPS, who claim we refused a B12 shot that was a matter of life and death, which is an absolute lie. We never refused a B12 shot, and at no point was he on the verge of death.
The account has raised over $230,000 in donations.
Amen’Ra was discharged to a foster family without anyone consulting Syesha first on whether she had any family or friends qualified to take him in.
Syesha said the foster family is White, and she stated racial discrimination against parents of color and their children was pervasive and something that Amen’Ra’s case would shine a light on.
According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Syesha’s newborn babygirl was still in protective custody after a hearing on Thursday, and she continues to fight for custody of her son.
Capt. Dennis Romano Jr., commander of the child protection investigation division of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, released a statement on Friday saying authorities always try to place children with another family member prior to any other placement.
That clearly didn’t happen in Syesha’s case.
The video has sparked an outrage on Twitter, with many tweeters citing racial discrimination and calling out Dr. Sally Smith.
Scoop some tweets below:
We pray that Syesha Mercardo and Tyron’s legal team is able to get their children back.
Please share this story and spread awareness, there is strength in numbers.
Source: NBC News
UPDATE – August 17, 2021
Syesha Mercado and the father of her children, Tyron Deener, held a press conference on Tuesday (August 17) to express how frustrated they are about being deprived the right to raise their children when they’ve done nothing wrong.
Syesha was very emotional as she expressed that she didn’t get the chance to experience her toddler son, Amen’Ra, who was put in foster care in March, say Mama for the first time.
She also mentioned she has been deprived the right to witness her two children meet for the first time.
Tyron expressed that they are law abiding citizens who live a life of service and it makes no sense for them to be treated like criminals.
Every single day we got to wake up, we have to look at our babies setup, and look at their swings, and look at their bedding, and their not here!
And, we have not committed any crime. We have not abused our babies, we have not done anything that is irresponsible as parents.
And, we have law enforcement watching us, and following us, and tracking us, and listening to us every single second as if we have a criminal background.
So if this can happen to us, it can happen to anybody.
Watch the video below:
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump spoke out against the way Syesha and Tyron were treated by the police in the viral video where their newborn daughter, Ast, was taken.
We have all seen the video that went viral of the police taking their newborn daughter from her mother’s arms, on the side of the road, without wearing masks.
Making a spectacle out of this Black family and publicly dehumanizing them.
Crump has vowed to fight with Syesha and Tyron until their children are back home with them.
Watch the video below:
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Department now claims that they took baby Ast by order of a family court judge.
I hope they don’t think that makes what they did justifiable.