An Arizona police department has come under fire for the decision to raid a family’s home after the mother allegedly refused to seek emergency treatment for her unvaccinated 2-year-old son—who was suffering from a 105-degree fever and possibly had meningitis.
Late last month, KPHO reported that parents Sarah Beck and Brooks Bryce lost custody of their three children for ignoring a doctor’s order to take their toddler son to an emergency room for treatment.
Beck had reportedly taken the feverish boy to Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. According to The Washington Post, she was apprehensive to take her son to the hospital because he was unvaccinated, which she feared would lead to the Arizona Department of Child Safety being notified and, because Bryce is pro-vaccination, he about would be angry about the ordeal.
(According to the National Vaccine Information Center, parents can opt their children out of vaccinations for religious, personal or philosophical reasons.)
Instead of getting the toddler to a hospital, Beck allegedly called the naturopathic doctor and claimed she picked up a thermometer on the way home and found her son’s temperature dropped to 102. She asserted that his temperature dropped even more by the time they got home, according to KPHO.
The doctor reportedly continued to press Beck about seeking emergency treatment for the 2-year-old. The Post reported that Beck continued to express apprehension and asked whether she could lie about the toddler’s immunization, to which the doctor said no and mentioned that the facility would contact authorities if she didn’t take him to the hospital.
Beck allegedly avoided the clinic’s calls, leading the doctor to contact the Department of Child Safety (DCS).
DCS reached out to the Chandler police and requested they perform a welfare check at 10:30 p.m. on the evening in question.
A police report stated that the couple refused to answer the door despite officers hearing “someone coughing inside one of the bedrooms.” Police said Bryce claimed his son was fine over the phone but was “argumentative and refused to exit the residence to talk with officers or DCS investigators,” according to the news station.
An hour after making initial contact with the couple, DCS obtained a court order allowing the agency to take temporary custody of the toddler so he could undergo emergency medical treatment. The police report said the parents still refused to allow officers into the home, so they forced entry as they determined there was a “present danger” to the child.
Released to the public on Thursday, the February 25 bodycam footage shows Chandler police—guns drawn and wearing tactical vests—kick down the couple’s door and force entry into their home.
Police found that the home was in disarray and that the couple also had 4- and 6-year-old children. They alleged that an unsecured shotgun was discovered next to a bed in the parents’ bedroom, though Bryce told KPHO that the gun didn’t work.
Arizona Republic reported that the 2-year-old was found to have a respiratory virus. Bryce told the outlet on March 15 that his three children were placed with his parents as he and Beck began a psychological evaluation and follow a court-ordered reunification plan.
Bryce said in a statement, “We would like to see some sort of public service announcement by DCS to inform other parents out there that this could happen to them, because nobody, especially children should have to go through what we are going through. We love our children and are doing everything possible to get them back to us.”
[Featured image: Chandler Police Department]