Syesha Mercado and her partner Tyron Deneer still do not have custody of their 15-month old son
American Idol finalist Syesha Mercado has been reunited with her newborn daughter after controversy erupted over authorities taking two of her children.
Mercado shared a video on Instagram Friday which offered the public an update on the emotionally-charged situation she found herself in. Her daughter Ast was seen in a car seat as she remained close with her partner Tyron Deneer at the wheel of the car.
“AST IS HOME!!!! #BringRaHome POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!!!!” Mercado captioned the video.
Deener thanked the public for their help in securing custody after their daughter was taken by Florida’s Child Protective Services only days after she’d been born. The move was made by authorities acting on the order of a judge.
“We still got work to do to get ‘Ra back. Thank you, because of y’all we had the proper support to get the best attorneys in the country,” Deener said.
Despite their daughter being returned to their custody, Mercado and Deener still have not been reunited with their 15-month-old son, Amen’Ra. He was placed into Manatee Child Protective Services in February after officials accused the couple of child abuse following a routine visit to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg on Feb. 26.
Mercado was having trouble producing milk and Amen’Ra stopped accepting fluids, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported. They were concerned about their eldest being malnourished but Dr. Sally Smith, the pediatrician who examined the boy, alerted the authorities.
Smith has been investigated for having a history of accusing parents of abuse.
The couple was also accused of denying Amen’Ra a B12 shot that is recommended by doctors. They’ve denied the accusation.
Mercado’s separation from her children became widely reported last week after a BuzzFeed article amplified a video which she posted of authorities taking possession of her infant. The couple was driving in their car on a Florida highway when police performed a welfare check on the side of the road.
Deener live-streamed the encounter which went on for more than an hour.
“My baby is days old, and you’re taking my baby away from me,” Mercado said in the video. “You have no heart. This is so wrong.”
“All you had to do was call the attorney. We have all the paperwork,” Mercado continued. “You guys have created so much trauma. You just expect me to come outside and be like, hi, guys, you’re my friends. You’re not my friends.”
The public was outraged, with many believing that the couple was being targeted because they were Black.
“This system is rooted in our country’s history of slavery and regulating the reproduction of Black mothers and Black families,” Dana Sussman, the deputy executive director at National Advocates for Pregnant Women, told Buzzfeed. “It is rooted in the country’s belief they can judge who and when people can become parents … and it’s inextricably linked with the racist systems of policing, violence, and poverty.”
In addition to creating a GoFundMe to help with legal costs, they also obtained the services of civil rights attorney Ben Crump to help them. Crump has blasted authorities as “publicly dehumanizing them,” and vowed to do all he could to help return their children to them.
“I went somewhere to get assistance, my baby was supposed to come home with me,” Mercado said Tuesday at a press conference. “We should have never been criminalized for getting assistance for something.”
Deneer insisted that their lives revolved around health and they would never do anything that would cause their children any harm.
“If you are a parent, if you are a grandparent, aunt uncle, cousin, just know that we have agencies in place that have the ability to remove children without you breaking the law or abusing your niece, nephew, son,” Deneer said. “If this can happen to use, it can happen to you. We have no criminal background. We have no history with DCF. We have done nothing wrong.”
Watch the press conference below.
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