The New York City Police Department (NYPD) was sued Thursday by a woman who claims officers handcuffed her wrists and ankles during labor and immediately after she gave birth at an area hospital, The New York Times reported

The lawsuit, which identified the mother under the pseudonym Jane Doe, states that doctors at Montefiore Medical Center warned the officers that restraints were illegal in the state of New York, cautioning that they posed serious risks to women in labor.


The officers reportedly claimed that “the NYPD Patrol Guide supersedes this law and that patient would need to remain restrained during remainder of hospitalization,” according to one doctor's notes.

The guide states that officers are allowed to remove the restraints when doctors request it and after a patrol supervisor has been notified, the Times noted. The sergeant contacted about Jane Doe’s case said the restraints were mandatory, according to the lawsuit.

The NYPD declined to comment on pending litigation in a statement to The Hill. The law department said it was examining these allegations "very carefully" and would not comment "before all the facts are in."

Jane Doe, then 27, was in “excruciating pain” during her Feb. 8, 2017 labor because of the shackles, which also forced doctors to examine her with her feet and hands bound, the lawsuit obtained by ABC News states. 

The shackles around her ankles were briefly removed before delivery but her right hand was still cuffed to the hospital bed as she gave birth, according to the complaint. The mother reportedly struggled to feed her new baby with only one arm free, ABC News reported.

The woman was freed from the restraints nine hours later and arraigned by a judge in her hospital bed, Jane Doe’s lawyer Katherine Rosenfeld told the Times. 

“The fact that they disregarded the medical advice of doctors suggests that they didn’t use any humanity and sort of blindly followed what they perceived to be the policy in the Patrol Guide,” Rosenfeld said.

Jane Doe was arrested when she was 40 weeks pregnant, just two days before her due date, and went into a labor inside of a holding cell in the Bronx. Her arrest was in connection to a family dispute with her ex-partner from five months earlier. 

"There was no urgent need to arrest Plaintiff that day by any stretch of the imagination," according to the lawsuit, reported by ABC News. 

Jane Doe said the experienced traumatized her and still gives her nightmares.

“Ms. Doe was terrified for herself and for her baby. She feared that she would deliver the baby alone in a cell at the 47th Precinct without medical help. She feared that after she gave birth, the NYPD would take her baby away," the lawsuit states. "She desperately wanted her partner and her own doctor to be present for the birth, at her chosen hospital, consistent with her birth plan. But she remained compliant, urging herself to stay calm for the safety of her baby." 

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has long opposed the use of restraints during labor, saying it puts the health of the woman and fetus at risk.

“Physical restraints interfere with the ability of health care providers to safely practice medicine by reducing their ability to assess and evaluate the mother and the fetus and making labor and delivery more difficult,” the group stated in 2011.

North Carolina passed a new policy in March that required officers to remove restrains once a female inmate began having contractions unless she presents “an immediate, credible risk of escape.”