MIAMI – A clash between the authority of a sovereign Indian nation and non-indigenous civil servants is shaping up in Florida, where tribal police arrived at a hospital in Miami to seize a newborn baby from its parents, a Miccosukee mother and a white father.
Two days after the girl was born, tribal detectives entered Baptist Hospital in Kendall, which is outside of the tribe of the reservation in the Everglades, and Ingrid Ronan Johnson of her parents, Rebecca Sanders and Justin Johnson. The Miami Herald reported that the Miccosukee police were accompanied by Miami-Dade officers, and wore a court order. Miami-Dade now says the officers were deceived.
The parents have filed a complaint with the police, officers of justice and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, saying, the tribe order was invented by the baby’s grandmother, Betty Osceola to keep Johnson out of the girl’s life. The tribal to the grants of authority to Osceola.
“I’m still trying to wrap my head around how this could happen,” Johnson, 36, told the newspaper. “I can’t even begin to explain how difficult this is. I don’t see how people of the Miccosukee tribe may me in the face and tell me that this is OK.”
Sanders, 28, said that she also feel that they have no rights. “I thought the tribe was to protect its people, not use her own statements to the people,” she told the Herald.
Fort Lauderdale attorney Bradford Cohen, who represents Sanders, said the baby is missing a critical bonding time with her mother.
“We do not know the health of the baby. We do not know whether they are receiving the proper care,” Cohen said.
The authorities are reviewing what happened in the hospital, who said in a statement that its officials, followed by a court order. Miami-Dade police said the officers were asked to take a back-up during the tribal officials performed a “federal court order,” but the order came from the tribe, not the federal government.
The tribe is the police, did not return a call from The Associated Press.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said in a tweet on Wednesday night, the tribe the court to “kidnap” the baby.
“They have no jurisdiction outside of booking,” Rubio tweeted. “I’m in contact with fed officials, and this is not good for the tribe as they do not’ return the child as quickly as possible.”
Baby Ingrid’s parents have had conflicts and said that they are no longer a couple, but remain amicable and plan to co-parent of the girl. The Herald reports Sanders was arrested three years ago for the crime of battery of Johnson, and she told the newspaper her mother had pressured her to get a restraining order barring Johnson from the booking.
Sanders said her mother became excited when she saw Johnson in the hospital, and that Osceola had hospital security remove him. Johnson said that he would not leave, until he saw his baby.
“I remember kissing her on the forehead and telling her,” Daddy will see you soon,'” Johnson said. “I have not seen my daughter since.”