Ben Crump joins Syesha Mercado’s battle to regain custody of her two infants

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump has joined American Idol finalist Syesha Mercado’s battle to regain custody of her two children. Mercado held an emotional press conference earlier this week on the situation after the Manatee County Sheriff’s office confiscated their newborn daughter, Ast, on Aug. 11.

“I went somewhere to get help. My baby should come home with me, ”said Mercado during the conference, along with her partner and the children’s father, Tyron Deener. “We should never have been criminalized because we got help for something.”

After joining the case on Wednesday, August 18, Crump called the Florida Sheriff’s Department on charges of “publicly dehumanizing” a black family.

“If you are a parent, if you are a grandparent, aunt, uncle or cousin, just know that we have agencies that have the ability to remove children without breaking the law or breaking the law with your niece, nephew or abuse your son, “Deener said called. “If this can happen to us, it can happen to you. We don’t have a criminal background. We have no history with DCF. We didn’t do anything wrong. “

Manatee County Sheriff’s deputies took Ast away during a traffic stop in Florida on Aug. 11, when she was just 10 days old, according to USA Today. CPS was reportedly ordered to confiscate the newborn because Mercado and Deener failed to report they welcomed another child amid their ongoing legal battle to regain custody of their 18-month-old son Amen’Ra.

The couple’s son was placed in foster care in March after seeking medical help from the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. At that time, Mercado’s milk supply was starting to run out and Amen’Ra was not accepting any other fluids, so the parents went to the hospital for help. Instead, Mercado and Deener were kicked out of the hospital two weeks later by St. Petersburg police and Amen’Ra was placed in foster care by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

A lawyer representing the couple said Tuesday, August 17, that both children are currently in the care of an “estranged relative” and that Mercado and Deener can only visit them once a week.

Deener believes they have been targeted in part because of their vegan diet.

“The only thing we’ve done as parents is help our son,” he said. “We were judged on how we look, how we present ourselves. We have been criminalized. We had our son and daughter removed out of a lack of understanding. “

“I’m a first-time mother and I’m not allowed to hold or feed my babies,” added Mercado tearfully. “It’s not the first time I’ve seen Ra say ‘mom’ and I haven’t seen my babies meet for the first time, and I can’t repeat that moment.”

“I’m just missing so many precious moments, such precious time,” she continued. “I feel my daughter. I feel when she is hungry and when she is crying and there is nothing I can do. She is not here with me. This has been withheld from me and I don’t know how to express it. It hurts so bad.”

Mercado recently launched a GoFundMe page to help pay for legal fees. The couple’s legal department said they aim to have a hearing on Baby Ast before September.

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