‘We don’t know when that baby is going to come’: Sheriff defends forcing woman to give birth in filthy cell
The sheriff of the Macomb County Jail is defending his employees for forcing a pregnant woman, taken into custody for driving with an expired license, to give birth on a filthy jail cell floor.
Detroit resident Jessica Preston went into labor while she was in custody after being pulled over. According to Preston, she was accused of lying when she told her jailers at Macomb County that she was experiencing labor pains, reports WDIV.
Despite multiple requests to be taken to a hospital, jailers refused.
“I was called a liar and told to knock my crap off or they could put another charge on me,” Preston explained. “I should have gone (to the hospital) first thing in the morning, but when I come to you bleeding, 8 months pregnant, you go to the hospital.”
In video footage supplied to CBS, Preston was later seen writhing in agony of the floor of her cell as jail staffers assisted in the birth of her son, Elijah.
Nine months after the birth, and with the jailers’ actions under scrutiny, Sheriff Tony Wickersham defended his employees, saying they acted appropriately.
“I’m 100 percent that our people did what they need to do,” Wickersham said. “At some point, she said she had to go to the hospital, the baby came before that happened. In these situations we really don’t know when that baby is going to come.”
According to Wickersham, the plan had been to take Preston to the hospital, “That’s always our plan, you know, is to make that happen. But in this situation she was brought down, our medical staff was attending, and when they went back in the baby started to come. Safe delivery, baby was healthy.”
After delivering her son, Preston was returned to the jail to serve five more days.
The Macomb County Jail s already under fire after a woman who was unable to pay her $500 fine died while in custody.