40. In addition to the separation of mothers and children being unnecessary, the manner in which the FLDS children were separated from their mothers was inhumane.
In a previous post, I mentioned the mental health workers who documented what they observed at the shelters in the early days after the FLDS raid. Their description of the manner in which the children were separated from their mothers is riveting.
One mental health worker wrote:
One little boy of about four was frantically running from the CPS workers, avoiding capture in every way he could. Once caught, I held him firmly in my arms while he wept that he didn’t want them to take his mother.
Another mental health worker wrote:
Obviously they [CPS] did not know these people at all. Violence is not a part of their culture or belief…. On the awful day that they separated the mothers and children the level of cruelty and lack of respect for human rights was overwhelming. Crying, begging children were ripped away from their devastated mothers and the mothers were put on buses…. The floor was literally slick with tears in places. A baby was left in a stroller without food and water for 24 hours and ended up in the hospital. A 4 year old boy was so terrified that he snuck away and hid and was only found after the coliseum [had] been emptied the next day. I witnessed a small boy, maybe 3 years old, walking along the rows of cots with a little pillow saying “I need someone to rock me, I just want to be rocked, I want to find a rocking chair.” Two CPS workers were following him and writing in their notebooks but not speaking to him or comforting him. Sally and I started toward him but his 8 year old brother came and picked him up saying, “I will take care of him.”
The last two days were the worst – over 100 State troopers surrounded these women and children in the arena, and they were told they were having all their children taken away from them and only the nursing mothers could keep their children.
Yet another described the incident:
I could see the women and children being escorted by a string of law enforcement into the facility…. CPS workers approached the “guests” and asked the women to follow them into another room while the children were asked to follow other CPS workers and escorted them to the other end of the facility. As the children became scared and realized that their mothers were not going to return to them, they began to cry and become emotional. CPS responded by placing (bed) cots upright and building a wall so that the children could not see what was going on at the other end of the facility. At one point, when the children were all separated, one male child who was about 9 years old, broke away from the rest of the children who were all [huddled] together, being comforted by each other, and walked up to a police officer. I heard him say, “You’re the police, help us. Help me get my mother back. She has done nothing wrong.”
There seems to be a building body of evidence that this case had little to do with protecting the children from emotional and physical harm and much to do with attempting to suppress an unpopular religion.