Miami Hospital Turns Over Baby To Tribal Authorities

Scott Cooper Miami Hospital

A baby with a thick head of black hair was born inside Baptist Hospital in Kendall, to a mother and a white father.

Two days later, police detectives arrived at the hospital acting to remove the infant.

The order was not signed by a Florida judge but by way of a court judge on a booking 32 miles apart in the center of the Everglades. The cops were from a division whose authority covers the reservation the Miccosukee police force and possessions.

The hospital on Sunday allowed the baby to be taken by the tribal police.

The parents, Rebecca Sanders and Justin Johnson, are now heartbroken and outraged — filing complaints this week together with Miami-Dade authorities, state prosecutors and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. They told the Miami Herald that the tribal court order was a sham, chased Betty Osceola, by the baby’s furious grandmother, who didn’t want a white father to be part of the youngster’s life.

Ingrid Ronan Johnson was created on Friday, March 16, 2018, at Baptist Hospital. Two days later authorities, using an arrangement from a court that was tribal, whisked her to the reservation in the Everglades. Her parents have filed a complaint with authorities, saying the Miccosukee court issued an order awarding custody of their child to the child’s grandmother, a high-energy tribal member, Betty Osceola.
Emily Michot Courtesy of Rebecca Sanders
“I’m still trying to wrap my head around how this has happened,” Johnson, 36, said tearfully. “I can’t even begin to explain how hard this has been. I really don’t see how people of the Miccosukee tribe could look me in the face and tell me this is OK.”

I thought the tribe was to secure its people, not utilize its rulings to control its people.”

Exactly what happened at the hospital — and Miccosukee police acted in executing an order from a tribal court on county land — is currently under review by state authorities. Miami-Dade detectives have started an investigation.

The episode is the most recent test of the lawful authority of the court and police department with the sovereign Miccosukee tribe, which has clashed with country governments for decades over empowerment. The kid’s parents and researchers also have questions for the hospital, which enabled police to remove the baby.

A hospital spokesman, Dori Alvarez, declined to comment on specifics because of patient privacy legislation. In an announcement on Wednesday, she stressed that Miami-Dade police officers additionally accompanied tribal authorities to “enforce a court order” that day.

“We law enforcement. It’s our hospital’s plan to collaborate with Miami-Dade law enforcement because they enforce court orders,” the announcement said.

Police acknowledged they had officers present but indicated they were scammed. A tribal police sergeant, according to a statement, known as the Kendall district requesting backup while they implemented a “federal court order” at Baptist hospital, asserting the baby’s father might appear and pose a hazard. Two uniformed officers were dispatched “entirely in the role of maintaining the peace,” according to Miami-Dade Capt. Sergio Alvarez.

There was no order from a U.S. federal court judge. “They do not have any jurisdiction away from the reservation.

The tribe’s legal adviser, Jeanine Bennett, didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. “Jeanine said the tribe doesn’t have any comment on impending tribal court matters,” said a worker who answered the phone in the Miccosukee’s legal department.

Calls to Miccosukee chairman Billy Cypress’ office went undercover. Did not respond calls that are repeated for her cellphone. Her attorney said that the court ruling was no different than that which state courts do to safeguard child welfare, removing a child from endangerment together with all the parents.

“My perception is that she’s healthy and happy,” attorney Spence West said of infant Ingrid.

Their whereabouts are still unknown, although the tribal arrangement allowed custody of the baby to Osceola. The nation doesn’t have any power if the infant is about the Miccosukee reservation itself federal authorities have jurisdiction there.

Rebecca Sanders 28, who’s part of the Miccosukee tribe, holds photographs of her infant Ingrid Ronan Johnson. The woman’s dad and she claim a Miccosukee court issued a bogus order awarding custody of their child to the child’s grandmother, a high-energy tribal member, Betty Osceola.
“We don’t know exactly what the recourse is now, but we will continue to review it and talk to other bureaus.”

A lawyer stated the infant is currently missing out on bonding time and breast feeding together with her natural mother. “We do not understand the health of the infant. We do not know if she’s receiving appropriate care,” said Fort Lauderdale attorney Bradford Cohen.

The Miccosukee tribe possesses a resort that is gambling at the corner of Tamiami Trail and Krome Avenue and has approximately 600 members. Child custody disputes involving non-Indians and Indians aren’t unusual in nations with large Native American populations.

But they’re rare in Florida. As other countries in regards to custody conflicts between parents countries are treated the same under the child custody enforcement act of the state.

In 2014, the Florida Supreme Court sided using a Miami guy who alleged the Miccosukee court had no authority on a child-custody dispute between his baby’s mum, who is a tribal member. The local state courts ruled that the tribal court’s procedures — which did not allow the father to testify or perhaps have his lawyer inside court to observe — were legally substandard.

This case is unique. The birth parents are on the exact same side. And the baby may never be and isn’t a tribal member Ingrid doesn’t have sufficient Miccosukee blood according to the parents.

In accordance with Sanders and Johnson, this is exactly what occurred:

Sanders, a former body builder that grew up about the Miccosukee reservation and Johnson, met through fitness circles. He’s a strength coach and therapist who helped her a broken arm.

Most recently, they lived together in Arkansas, but had come down to Miami so she could take care of her ailing stepfather. The friction between the bunch and Osceola escalated.

The couple has experienced battles. Sanders was arrested on Johnson. Back in November, Sanders acknowledged she requested the court to get a restraining order barring Johnson in the reservation, although she said she was pressured to do this by her mum.

He and Sanders decided to divide, but stayed amicable with strategies to co-parent together.

In Kendall Osceola drove her daughter on Friday. Sanders left her 11-year-old son and daughter — kids from a previous relationship — in the care of her brother, who lives about the Seminole reservation.

Afterwards Friday, about 8:30 a.m., small Ingrid was born through a C-section surgery. In the recovery room, Johnson was seen by Osceola. Osceola grew agitated together with his existence, that night. Sanders insisted she desired Johnson there — and he would be the portion of the youngster’s life.

“She threatened to take my children away. She did not need him there. She advised told security he wants to be eliminated,” Sanders recalled.

The hospital let Johnson remain. But on Saturday, the next morning, although the baby has been tended to by physicians, a nursing supervisor entered the room followed by security and said “they had received telephone calls it would be in their best interest to get me removed,” Johnson stated.

The nurse didn’t say who made the calls. Stunned, until he got to watch Ingrid Johnson refused to leave.

“I have not seen my daughter”

The distraught Sanders remained in the hospital. But then, in walked two Miccosukee police detectives, followed closely staff and by hospital security.

She is in your custody. You are not the mother anymore, ‘” Sanders recalled.

She identified the detective was with the division that was tribal since 2009. He could not be reached for comment. According to Sanders, he didn’t have a replica of this Miccosukee court order stripping her of custody of their newborn.

In addition, he said if she moved to the reservation, she would need to enter drug rehab. “I asked him for what. I don’t do drugs,” Sanders said.

Within minutes, she stated, hospital safety and the uniformed police officers escorted her out of the hospital.

Johnson picked Sanders up and the two went to submit a report.

It was not till Monday that the tribal court emailed Sanders a copy of the documents. A request alleged that Sanders’ autistic son had suddenly revealed he had been struck by the parents. The order, dated after the kid was born, strips custody from Sanders but did not state she did anything wrong. The document stressed it is in the “best interest” of three children they stay in the custody of Osceola.

Former Miccosukee Police Chief Dave Ward, who is not involved in the situation, said court orders aren’t valid outside the reservation.

“In my estimation the Miccosukee officers necessary to present the tribal order to a federal or state judge in Dade, who would examine it and issue an order allowing Miami-Dade authorities to follow through with taking away the baby.”

Ward said he thought that the hospital opened itself up to liability by allowing the child to be eliminated.

Scott Cooper Miami

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