WASHINGTON (CN) - A mother claims in court that metropolitan police officers "forcibly separated" her from her newborn baby, "ran down the corridor in the hospital" with the little boy, and detained her in her hospital room until Child Protective Services approved the separation.
Karen Runnymede-Piper didn't get her baby back until two days later, she claims in Superior Court.
Runnymede-Piper sued the District of Columbia, its Metropolitan Police Department, the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency, Medstar Health and several doctors and police officers, alleging gross negligence and infliction of emotional distress.
Runnymede-Piper claims the event took place in the Washington Hospital Center 3 days after her baby was born.
"While plaintiff was waiting for a hospital nurse to find someone to remove the hospital identification bracelet from the baby as a last step before leaving the hospital, defendants Moore and Holloman, who were MPD officers, appeared and forcibly separated plaintiff from her baby, causing physical injury to plaintiff's hand," the complaint states. "John Doe 1 then ran down the corridor in the hospital with plaintiff's newborn son, to the nursery while defendant Moore physically blocked plaintiff from following her child."
Metro police then forced her to return to her hospital room, where they stood guard so she couldn't leave, she claims. After about two hours, she says, a nurse told her that Child Protective Services had approved the separation and she was "forcibly escorted" out of the hospital, without her baby.
"No one told plaintiff what was to become of her baby boy. Plaintiff passed a sleepless night worrying that her son would be placed in unsuitable foster care and that she might not regain custody of him for years," her complaint states.
Two days later, she says she was able to retrieve her baby from the hospital.
Runnymede-Piper sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States.
She wants each defendant to pay her $5 million in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages.
Runnymede-Piper is represented by Bernard Solnik of Rockville, Md.
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