Video footage has emerged showing armed police storming into a house in order to rescue a two-year-old boy whose parents hadn’t vaccinated him.
Police officers descended on the family home in Chandler, Arizona, with their guns drawn because they believed the child to have an extremely high fever.
A doctor had contacted the police after the child’s parents ignored his advice to take him to the hospital – because they say his fever broke shortly afterwards.
In Arizona, legislation has been passed to allow law officials to remove children from their homes in emergency situations. However, the family’s attorney has branded using it in this instance as ‘ridiculous’.
As reported by ABC15, the child’s parents took the 2-year-old to a doctor when he had a fever of 105°F (40.5°C). The doctor then instructed the parents to take him to hospital.
However, the parents say the child’s fever broke after the doctor’s visit and so they never took him to the hospital. Upon finding this out, the doctor called the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS), who then called police to check on the child.
After an initial home visit whereby the boy’s father refused to let police come into the home to check on the boy, police came back later with a search warrant and forced their way inside after the family didn’t answer.
Take a look at what happened when police arrived at the home below:
State Representative Kelly Townsend, a Republican in District 16, played a huge part in getting legislation passed which requires the Arizona DCS to get a search warrant to remove children from their home in non-emergency situations.
However, she says she never thought this would be the result and says she is troubled by the footage which shows the officers entering the family’s home.
Townsend told ABC15:
The doctor chose to use DCS to remove the child and DCS chose to use the police and the police chose to use the SWAT team. That is not the country that I recognise.
At that point who now owns control over the child? And it seems like we’ve given that now to the doctor and the parent no longer has the say or they risk the SWAT team taking all of your children and potentially the newborn.
Townsend added, ‘we need to admit that this situation was a mistake,’ before saying she can see both sides of the story: a concerned doctor and protective parents.
The family’s attorney, Nicholas Boca, described the whole situation as ‘ridiculous’ and stressed that a fever is not enough motivation to kick a family’s door down.
All because of a fever. A fever! It’s absolutely ridiculous. That type of kicking your door in, with guns drawn… it should be reserved for violent criminals.
Although the doctor had feared the child had meningitis, he actually had an upper respiratory infection.
ABC15 reports the parents are fighting to get their children back.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).