Arizona authorities are under fire after a surveillance video released this week shows several armed police officers forcing their way into a home to remove an unvaccinated child.
The officers went to the home after the family’s doctor learned the parents refused to take the 2-year-old child to the emergency room despite a 105-degree fever, according to local news reports. The family reportedly chose not to follow the doctor’s advice because the baby’s fever went away.
The surveillance video shows at least four heavily armed police officers forcing their way into an apartment in the middle of the night. One of them kicks the door open and another pushes it out of the way. At least two officers are seen pointing their guns toward the door while another holds a shield. Then, one of them shouts, “Chandler Police Department. Come out with your hands up.”
“All because of a fever. A fever! It’s absolutely ridiculous,” the mother’s lawyer, Nicholas Boca, told ABC 15. “That type of kicking your door in, with guns drawn… it should be reserved for violent criminals.”
State Rep. Kelly Townsend, a Republican who once equated vaccination with communism, has been one of the most vocal critics of the incident, which took place last month in the city of Chandler, south of Phoenix. She said the Arizona Department of Children Safety removed all three children from the parents over a doctor’s “misdiagnosis.”
“This mother is nearly 9 months pregnant and her baby will be born soon,” Townsend said in a Facebook post.
“I have great concern that DCS will also take this infant over a misdiagnosis by the Dr., who thought the child might have meningitis, when actually he had (a respiratory virus). This would have led to an unnecessary and potentially dangerous spinal tap of a two-year-old child. The parents were correct, the doctor was wrong.”
The controversy is also raising questions about a state law intended to protect children. The legislation, which Townsend helped craft, requires authorities to obtain a warrant before removing children from their families.
DCS did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday morning.
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