Grandmother sent to all-male jail after she is misclassified as transgender
By The Christian Post
A federal appeals court has reinstated the lawsuit of a grandmother against a doctor and nurse with the Miami-Dade County Corrections Department who misclassified her as transgender and insisted that jail officers book her as a man even though a strip search had already shown she is a woman.
The grandmother, Fior Pichardo de Veloz, now 55, is an attorney and local elected official in the Dominican Republic, according to the Miami Herald.
Pichardo was arrested on an old drug case she did not know was outstanding after she came to Miami in 2013 to witness the birth of her grandchild.
Pichardo previously filed a lawsuit against Dr. Fredesvindo Rodriguez-Garcia and Nurse Fatu Kamara Harris, who insisted to jail officials that she was a man. She alleged she was subjected to “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of the U.S. Constitution by county and jail staff. The case was thrown out by a federal judge who argued that jail staffers were protected from a trial for negligence.
The decision was overturned in a unanimous opinion released Nov. 21.
“Every reasonable prison officer and medical personnel would have known that wrongfully misclassifying a biological female as a male inmate and placing that female in the male population of a detention facility was unlawful,” Judge Frank Hull wrote.
Ryan Marks, a lawyer representing Pichardo, told the Herald that “we are pleased” with the court’s decision.
“The opinion correctly held, as we believed, that the defendants could not be so struthious as to ignore the overwhelming evidence in front of them that Mrs. Pichardo was in fact female,” Marks said.
All evidence point to Pichardo being a biological woman after she was arrested at Miami International Airport on Nov. 4, 2013. Things took a wild turn during Pichardo’s medical processing for high blood pressure. Her file indicated that she was taking hormone pills but this was because she was going through menopause.
Nurse Harris told a jailer working with Pichardo that sometimes “male inmates take hormone pills to enhance their breasts.” She walked over to Pichardo and asked her about her gender and the grandmother asserted that she is indeed female despite being startled by the question.
Harris reportedly led Pichardo to an exam room and left before the doctor saw the grandmother. Dr. Rodriguez-Garcia later asked her medical questions but never made her undress or asked “if she was a woman, a man or transgender.” He also did not ask why she was taking hormone pills. He would later reclassify her as a man and Harris inexplicably told a jail officer that during an exam “everything fell out,” referring to Pichardo’s supposed male genitals.
Despite protest from jail officers, the nurse added a note to Pichardo’s file that said: “Transgender, male parts, female tendencies.”
Pichardo was later placed in a cell with about 40 men, where she was jeered and taunted with shouts of “mami! mami!” She was so scared to use the toilet that “she urinated on herself instead,” the opinion said.
The appeals court ruled the conduct of the nurse and doctor, in the face of strong evidence that Pichardo was a woman, amounts to “deliberate indifference.”
Harris was “exposed to consistent and repeated information that Mrs. Pichardo was a woman” and “stubbornly refused” to confirm Pichardo’s gender.
It was further noted that the doctor “knew that sending a woman to an all-male prison would pose a risk of serious harm to her safety, however, he took no steps to verify Mrs. Pichardo’s sex before re-classifying her as male.”
Source:The Christian Post