FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony warned on Friday that if an ongoing internal affairs investigation finds that deputies ignored a pregnant inmate’s pleas for help — forcing her to give birth in a jail cell — more deputies will face disciplinary action.
The North Broward Jail inmate identified as Stephanie Bretas, 28, gave birth to a boy on the floor of her cell on Sept. 27. Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes reported deputies ignored her cries for help while she was in labor.
“I am highly disgusted at the allegations," Tony said. “We have not been right in terms of what we could have done if these allegations are true.”
Deputies released Bretas on Sept. 29. She is in Boca Raton awaiting trial on charges of trespassing and burglary. Her baby is in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
“Let’s just say you didn’t have a care or concern for the mother, but please just have some compassion for the child — the unborn child,” Weekes said.
After Weekes informed Tony about the situation, the Sheriff terminated Col. Gary Palmer and Lt. Col. Angela Neely and said on Thursday that he did so because “they grossly failed” both the agency and Bretas.
“It comes down to decency,” Tony said. “It comes down to common sense.”
THE TAMMY JACKSON ACT LAW
It wasn’t the first time deputies have been accused of ignoring a pregnant woman’s desperate pleas for help at the North Broward Jail.
Tammy Jackson gave birth to a girl named Miranda on April 10, 2019. She was alone in an isolation cell and didn’t have access to medical attention.
A new law named after Jackson makes it illegal for pregnant inmates to not get daily medical checkups while in custody. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed it into law in June.