“American Idol” finalist Syesha Mercado is fighting the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office after they took away her newborn baby daughter. This is the second child that authorities have taken from the Florida native, who finished third during the seventh season of the popular singing competition.
According to the Herald Tribune, on Wednesday morning, Manatee County deputies surrounded a car that Mercado, her baby and her partner, Tyron Deener, were driving in. Police then took custody of the 10-day-old newborn to bring her to a hospital.
Deener posted the incident that occurred near Whitfield Drive and Lockwood Ridge Road on Instagram Live. The hourlong video, which has over 1.5 million views, shows a few police vehicles flashing their lights while two deputies give the couple a court order to turn over the baby for a physical at the hospital.
Mercado and Deener explain to the sheriffs that their daughter had already been seen by physicians just a day prior. The pair also state they were on their way with the newborn to the sheriff’s office, but they were told no one was available to see them.
“She’s not even a month old,” Mercado can be heard saying in the clip before starting to cry. “You are traumatizing my baby. How could you guys do this? Do you not feel anything? You’re taking my baby away from me. You have no heart. This is so wrong. I have the key to this city. I’ll hold it together. I’m strong.”
A court hearing was well underway Thursday morning and the baby was still in protective custody, according to Donisha Prendergast, who is advocating for the couple.
Mercado and Deener’s 15-month-old son, Amen’Ra, was placed into foster care more than three months ago. The couple has been working hard to get him back after he was taken over allegations of malnutrition.
They took Amen’Ra to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg on Feb. 26. Almost two weeks later, the St. Petersburg police removed Mercado and Deener from the hospital for trespassing. Their son was discharged in late March and was transferred to foster care.
The pair created a GoFundMe, entitled “The Legalized Kidnapping of Black Babies Through CPS.” About $250,000 has been raised of their $200,000 goal to cover legal bills.
“I am a pregnant, breastfeeding, mama who went to the hospital with the intention to get my [son], Amen’Ra, some fluids while transitioning from extended breastfeeding to being bottle-fed,” Mercado’s page description read. “On March 11 … 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.”
She continued, “We never refused a B12 shot, and at no point was he on the verge of death. Our Sun has since been placed with a white foster family without interviewing qualified relatives or friends of our family for placement while they investigate. We are given limited information and presently only have weekly zoom visitation for an hour with our sun, with no court order stating these visitation limitations.”