Things That Matter

This Woman Was Forced To Give Birth In A Jail Cell Without Medical Attention, Now She’s Suing

On the topic of imprisonment and the people behind bars, oftentimes the most vulnerable group isn’t the most visible. It’s no secret that black and brown men are unjustifiably locked up, but minority women are as well. A 2014 report published by the Vera Institute of Justice and The Safety and Justice Challenge showed that minority women are being locked more than any other group, and many of them are mothers, and thousands of them are pregnant. How does the correctional facility handle these women? Appallingly. 

A 27-year-old woman gave birth alone while behind bars and received no medical care during her entire labor. 

Credit: Twitter/@cfcpac

Diana Sanchez was locked up at eight months pregnant on identity theft charges. The report by the Vera Institute shows that most women are jailed for nonviolent crimes, so it is unclear why they couldn’t help Sanchez as she was not a threat to anyone. On July 30, she was examined by a nurse who in turn told her “that she needed to receive immediate medical attention if she ‘started having contractions if she had noticed any fluid leaking from her vagina,'” USA Today reports. 

For the next several hours Sanchez pleaded for help. She called on anyone that could hear her that she was having contractions, but no one ever came. 

Credit: Unsplash

According to the New York Times, at least one person did come to her door. The video footage shows that someone slid a white mat under Sanchez’s cell door. How would a mat help during this process? Minutes later, her baby was born. He was born at a little over five pounds. Medical personal did attend to the baby after he was born. Her due date was still more than a week away. Yes, this is cruel but is it illegal for prison officials to not provide medical attention to someone who is in desperate need of help, let alone to someone who is in labor?  

An attorney for Sanchez said it is illegal for prison officials to turn their back on a pregnant woman in labor, and that is why they’re filing a lawsuit. 

Credit: Unsplash

“What should have been one of the happiest days of her life was instead a day of unnecessary terror, pain, and humiliation,” the lawsuit said. Sanchez is suing the city and county of Denver, Denver Health and Hospital Authority, and six individuals — two nurses and four sheriff’s deputies. 

Her lawyer, Mari Newman, said her client is traumatized over what happened to her in jail. If some women experience postpartum depression after they give birth, just imagine the pain that Sanchez must be under after experiencing such trauma. 

“Diana is struggling,” Newman said in an interview with the New York Times. “She continues to flash back to the event. She was absolutely petrified, and nobody would do anything to give her the medical care that she so obviously needed. This is the kind of trauma that doesn’t go away.”

In response to this lawsuit, the Denver Sheriff Department released this statement to the New York Times, “To make sure nothing like this happens again, the Denver Sheriff Department has changed its policies to ensure that pregnant inmates who are in any stage of labor are now transported immediately to the hospital.”

They also report that after an internal investigation, their employees acted in accordance with their policy. In other words, not helping a woman who is behind bars and is in labor is proper protocol. Sanchez has since been released and is at home recovering with her baby boy. 

More than 12,000 pregnant women are put behind bars every year, the American Civil Liberties Union reports. Some of them are forced to have their babies while being shackled to their bed. 

Credit: Unsplash 

“I felt like a farm animal,” Michelle Aldana said of her experience giving birth while in prison and chained to her hospital bed. 

Each state has different laws that either requires women to be shackled en route to the hospital or while giving birth but this there is no hard law across the board, which gives way for major liberties when it comes to pregnant women in jails. 

Democratic lawmakers have tried to pass the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act which would allow prison officials to remove the women’s cuff and chains while giving birth, but only some states have agreed to this policy. 

Furthermore, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine say that more than 90 percent of women who have their babies in jail ended in live births with no maternal deaths. But what about the 10 percent? We must look at what is causing those children to die.

READ: Cyntoia Brown Was Finally Released From Prison After 15 Years – This Is What Resistance Looks Like

After Tekashi69 Cooperated With Authorities Against His Gang He Now Fears Spending Time In Prison

Entertainment

After Tekashi69 Cooperated With Authorities Against His Gang He Now Fears Spending Time In Prison

6ix9ine / Instagram

Rapper Tekashi69 may have been sentenced to two years in prison last month, but he’s already petitioned the judge presiding over his case to serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement for fear of his life. Tekashi, born Daniel Hernandez, was initially facing 37 years in prison, for firearms, racketeering, shootings, and robbery charges. His cooperation in taking down his own gang, the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, reduced his prison sentence to two years. However, this means that Hernandez was transferred from a federal jail to a private prison alongside “various members of the Bloods,” according to Hernandez’s attorney, Lance Lazzaro, in a motion to modify Hernandez’s prison sentence. The term “snitches get stitches” is gang culture canon for a reason and Hernandez’s cooperation ensured the conviction of two Nine Trey gang members, a Bloods gang.

Now, Lazzaro is trying to get Hernandez out of prison by emphasizing that “Hernandez’s safety is still, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, seriously at risk.”

Daniel Hernandez, a.k.a. Tekashi69, hoped that his cooperation would warrant his immediate release from custody after pleading guilty to his charges.

CREDIT: 6IX9INE / INSTAGRAM

Judge Paul A. Engelmayer spoke directly to Hernandez in the courtroom last month when he told him, “Your conduct was too violent, too sustained, too destructive, too selfish, and too reckless with respect to public safety to make a sentence of 13 months at all reasonable,” according to The New York Times. Hernandez pleaded guilty to several shootings and robberies and appeared genuinely remorseful at his hearing. At one point, one of his victims testified about her experience of being shot by Hernandez. “I know I was wrong,” he reportedly said through tears. “I was weak. I was easily influenced. I can’t believe that was me. Again, your honor, there is no apology good enough.”

When Hernandez read his statement to the court, he spotted the father he hadn’t seen in over a decade in the crowd.

CREDIT: 6IX9INE / INSTAGRAM

Hernandez, 23, was giving his measured statement to the court when he visibly started to get emotional. Hernandez told Judge Engelmayer that he just noticed his biological father, who abandoned his family when Hernandez was in third grade, in the audience. The man confirmed and requested that he take the podium but Engelmayer told him that he “squandered” that right “many, many years ago.” 

The man and performer we knew as Tekashi69 has seemed to evolve during his court proceedings. Up until his arrest, Hernandez routinely rapped about gang life and his disdain for the law. Just one day after his arrest, however, he started “snitching” to the federal government on the Bloods.

The judge has described his cooperation as “game-changing” and “brave,” but it also makes him a serious target.

CREDIT: @ALMIGHTYJOKA / TWITTER

“As the court is well aware, Rolland Martin, a co-conspirator convicted in Hernandez’s case, was almost killed in a Bureau of Prisons facility, not for cooperating with the government, but for merely renouncing his membership in the gang,” Lazzaro told the court. Hernandez has not only renounced the gang but has “provided the government with critical insight into the structure and organization of Nine Trey” prosecutors stated in a court document meant to seek leniency in his sentencing. 

“Your cooperation was impressive. It was game-changing. It was complete and it was brave,” Judge Engelmayer told Hernandez during his sentencing, saying his cooperation “brought out the best in you, and you should be proud of yourself for it.” Since the government understands that Hernandez’s cooperation necessitates a lifetime of looking over their shoulders, his sentence has been reduced. With is safety in mind, he was sent to a private facility meant to provide extra security from Blood members. That very security measure may prove to be an obstacle in granting him early release into home confinement.

Now, Hernandez is seeking early release or to be transferred to a community correctional facility (CCC).

Credit: @ACAMBACANI / TWITTER

If his safety wasn’t a consideration, Hernandez would have been committed to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons until he was eligible for early release or a CCC. However, his cooperation with the government has imposed such a danger on his life, the Court sentenced him to a private facility without as much danger. Still, Lazzaro says that such accommodation has robbed him of the ability for an early release.

“Given the sensitive nature of his testimony as a government witness and his celebrity status, my client will have to take extreme measures for both the security of himself and his family for quite possibly the rest of their lives,” Lazzaro said, implying that a life sentence from a violent gang has already been assigned to Hernandez. 

Hernandez has declined the government’s offer of being placed in witness protection and says he wants to continue making music. In fact, just weeks before his trial, he signed a $10 million record deal. Today, he says he’s thinking of the children who have looked up to him to become an example of someone who can turn their life around.

READ: Tekashi69’s Undocumented Driver Cooperated With Federal Authorities To Avoid Being Deported

A Teenage Football Player In Indiana Has Been Sentenced To Prison For Killing A Cheerleader Pregnant With His Baby

Things That Matter

A Teenage Football Player In Indiana Has Been Sentenced To Prison For Killing A Cheerleader Pregnant With His Baby

St. Joseph County Police Department

An Indiana teenager has confessed to killing a fellow student because she was too far along in her term pregnancy to have an abortion. Aaron Trejo was 16 years old when he and 17-year-old Breana Rouhselang started up the cliche football player-cheerleader romance that unwittingly resulted in a pregnancy. Trejo, a then-member in good standing of the school’s football team, was angry that Rouhselang waited until she was six months pregnant to tell him that he was the father. According to court documents, neither one of them wanted the child, but Trejo took matters into his own hands and spent a week planning her murder.

In December 2018, Trejo confessed to the murder. On Tuesday, he was sentenced to 65 years in prison for homicide and feticide.

Aaron Trejo stabbed her, choked her with her scarf and put her body in a dumpster.

CREDIT: ST. JOSEPH COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT

In December 2018, Trejo entered a ‘not guilty’ plea for the homicide of Rouhselang and for the feticide of their fetus. Earlier that week, police found Rouhselang’s body in a dumpster after she was reported missing. Rouhselang told her mom that she was going to meet Trejo around behind their Mishawaka home around 11 p.m. When her mom woke up a few hours later, around 1 a.m., she was concerned that Rouhselang was still not back. She went over to Trejo’s home, a few blocks away, to ask where Rouhselang was, but he told her that she never showed up to talk in the alley behind her home. He also told Rouhselang’s mother that he lost his phone and that she wouldn’t be able to reach him.

Investigators found Rouhselang’s glasses and a “stocking cap” that belonged to Rouhselang. “There was apparent blood on the hat,” a probable cause affidavit said.  Investigators searched the premises and businesses nearby and found her body in a dumpster with a black plastic garbage bag placed over her head and torso.

Trejo was brought in for questioning and within a few hours confessed to the whole thing.

CREDIT: BREANA ROUHSELANG / FACEBOOK

The investigator who interrogated Trejo said in an affidavit that “there were several pauses and quiet times” during the questioning. Soon enough, he asked Trejo if they ever fought about the pregnancy, to which “Aaron Trejo quietly said, ‘Yes.’ Aaron then explained that Breana waited too long to tell Aaron about the pregnancy to get an abortion,” according to the affidavit. When the detective asked Trejo “what he did about that,” he replied, “I took action … I took her life.”

Trejo had plotted to kill Rouhselang for a week. He brought a knife and a garbage bag from his home over to the alley behind her house where they were to meet and stabbed her in the heart. He thought that using a knife would kill her quickly. “Trejo said that he had been planning and thinking about killing Breana and the baby for about a week and had not told anybody,” the affidavit states. Trejo threw Rouhselang’s phone and knife into the river after he threw her body into a dumpster.

Autopsy reports found that she was also strangled with her own scarf.

CREDIT: BREANA ROUHSELANG / FACEBOOK

The autopsy confirmed that she died from multiple stab wounds and that “her scarf had been tied so tightly that strangulation was occurring before Breana died.” Rouhselang’s own father and stepmother had no idea that she was pregnant. “We’re just in shock, really. We’re in disbelief that this is going on,”  Breana’s stepmom, Nicole Rouhselang, told ABC. “I woke up this morning and wanted to send her a text. But, there’d be nobody on the other end.”

Trejo’s family has since been bombarded with hate messages on social media, but his aunt, Alexzaundra Patton-Manu told the New York Post that “We just want everybody to stop trying to harass everybody in our family. We didn’t do nothing wrong.” Patton-Mandu added that Trejo had suffered a “bad concussion” a few months prior and “that could have messed with his mind.” 

Breana Rouhselang has been remembered as a “precious, beautiful, innocent, well-loved young woman.”

CREDIT: BREANA ROUHSELANG / FACEBOOK

Rouhselang’s obituary cites that her baby would have been a girl, to be named Aurora MacKenzie Rouhselang. She was looking forward to receiving a letter at a sports banquet the afternoon after she was murdered, and planned to study athletic training in college. Breana Rouhselang was Mishawaka High School’s football team manager, a softball coach and a cheerleader. 

READ: A Man Didn’t Like How Slow Mexican Authorities Were Investigating So He Solved His Father’s Murder