(CN) – Members and police officers from the Miccosukee Tribe entered a hospital in Miami and abducted the newborn of a white father and a tribal mother using a bogus court order, the father of the baby claims in court.
In a complaint filed in Miami-Dade County on Friday, plaintiff Justin Johnson says that neither he nor his daughter Ingrid are members of the Miccosukee tribe because they do not have the required blood quantum to be members.
Johnson claims that he has a blood quantum of 0% and baby Ingrid has 3/8th, and the tribe requires a 50% blood quantum for membership.
The Miccosukee tribe has the custom of arranging child marriages, and it’s alleged that girls are eligible for marriage as soon as they have their first menstrual period.
Johnson, who is represented by Maximilian Steiner from Steiner Law PLLC in Miami, says that the mother of his baby, Rebecca Sanders, was “gifted” at the age of 13 to an 18 year old man by her mother, Betty Osceola, who is a defendant in the lawsuit.
Johnson alleges that Sanders’ tribal family induced her to enter a “default judgment of guilt” against him on November 15, 2017 in the Tribe’s Tribal Court alleging an incident of domestic violence, but that he never received a notice of hearing in regards to that order.
According to the complaint, baby Ingrid was born on March 16, 2018 at Baptist Hospital in Miami, and because she has less than 50% of Miccosukee blood, the tribal court does not have jurisdiction over her.
The complaint says that on March 16, Osceola, the baby’s maternal grandmother, showed up at the hospital with an incomplete tribal order containing false information demanding Baptist Hospital to remove Johnson from the premises, but the hospital denied the request.
On March 16, Osceola filed a sworn statement with the Tribe’s Police Department defaming Johnson, and falsely accusing him of child abuse based on secondhand unfounded statements made by Sanders’ autistic son from a previously arranged marriage, the complaint says.
The complaint claims that also on March 16, the Tribe’s Police Department published a police report containing more defamatory statements about Johnson, alleging that he “works for Russian people and has been involved as their hit man from time to time.”
On March 17, Jane Billie, a judge of the Miccosukee tribe, entered an emergency order purportedly granting temporary custody of baby Ingrid to Osceola that falsely claimed that the Tribe’s Court had jurisdiction over the baby, the complaint alleges.
The same day, tribal social worker Jennifer Prieto, contacted Baptist Hospital and obtained confidential medical information about the baby.
Johnson says that later that day he was removed from the hospital by staff because “someone called the hospital and told them that it was in the hospital’s best interest to remove” him.
He claims that during the morning of March 18, Miccosukee tribal police officer, Michael Gay, aided by two Miami- Dade police officers, entered the maternity ward of the hospital and took baby Ingrid from the arms of her mother, and stated “This is not your baby anymore.”
“Gay presented to the two unknown MDPD Officers what he represented to be a Federal Order for Baby Ingrid to be seized, knowing that the order was not issued by a Federal Court, nor a court of competent jurisdiction,” Johnson says in the complaint.
The Miami-Dade Police officers did not properly review the purported order, allowed Gay to carry a firearm out of Miccosukee territory, and supported the abduction of his daughter, Johnson claims.
On March 19, Sanders filed a petition pleading the Tribal Court to return her baby, claiming that the tribe had no jurisdiction over her or her “non- tribal” daughter.
Johnson says that during the time that his baby was in the care and custody of the Miccosukee tribe, he did not know anything about her location or health.
On March 22, the baby was returned to her parents pursuant to the demands of Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
“Baby Ingrid, because of this traumatic experience, now refuses to breastfeed,” Johnson says.
Johnson and Sanders are no longer a couple, but remain in amicable terms to be able to co-parent their daughter.
Johnson seeks compensatory damages on claims of false imprisonment, conspiracy, a tort of outrage, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation and negligence.
Representatives from Baptist Hospital and the Miccosukee Tribe failed to respond to email and phone requests for comment on the lawsuit.