Settlement for a Shackled Pregnant Woman

By Dianne Frazee-Walker

A 2008 traffic stop landed a Mexican immigrant woman a $490,000 settlement and a possible resident visa.

The financial settlement is the outcome of a 5-year legal battle over Ms. Villegas’s civil rights being violated while she was detained for 6-days in a Nashville jail.

Ms. Villegas’s nightmare began when authorities discovered she was in the country illegally when she was pulled over in a Nashville suburb. Authorities discovered Villegas had been residing in the United States since 1996 and had been previously deported.  She was arrested and detained for 6-days. Villegas’s immediate custody was justified by an immigration agreement between Davidson County and federal authorities that gave immigration enforcement powers to sheriff’s officers.  

The problem was Villegas was 9-months pregnant when she was hauled off to jail. A short time after she was taken into custody, Villegas gave birth to a baby boy. Nevertheless, officials didn’t waste any time returning Villegas to jail after the birth without her new born infant in arm.

During Villegas’s delivery officials displayed no signs of compassion when they restrained her to the bed with shackles.

Did the officials who bound Ms. Villegas to the bed believe she was actually going to make a mad dash for the door while going through labor or is this just an outdated procedure?

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Emotional Baggage and Chaos in Our Communities

By D. A. Sears  Image courtesy
Our communities have become spiritually and psychologically toxic environments.   How did our communities get this way?  Chaos abounds.  Why?  Emotional baggage!
Let’s go back to the day that you were born.  When you emerged from the womb and entered the space and place we know as Planet Earth — our global village — your soul and your spirit were pure . . . intact . . . You were a whole person.  You were a sensitive, trusting, compassionate and loving soul.  You were curious about the new world you found yourself in.  You gurgled with joy and laughter when you were happy and amused.  You cried when you were hungry, angry or lonely in the hopes of getting the attention of the adults who were in your world so that you could get what you needed for your intellectual, physical, and emotional development.  As time progressed, you developed a vocabulary.  You began to speak — first in words — then in full sentences.  You reached a point where you could clearly articulate what you needed and wanted.  You learned these words and sentences from the adults in your immediate environment and from other children.  You asked questions about everything you saw, heard, and did not understand.  Your eyes sparkled with delight as you made new discoveries about the world inside and outside of your immediate environment.  You sang when you were happy.  You were resilient, enthusiastic, spontaneous, energetic, and so very imaginative. 
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