Woman Awarded $1 Million In Lawsuit After Giving Birth In Jail

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SEATTLE– A woman has won $975,000 in a federal jury trial, 14 years after giving birth in a jail cell in Washington state.

A jury agreed Friday on nine of 10 counts in Imka Pope’s civil rights case against King County. Pope says jail nurses and corrections officers violated her civil rights in 1997 by dismissing her claims that she was pregnant.

She had been arrested for sleeping on a bench at a Metro bus stop. In the lawsuit she filed in 2007, Pope said jail health officials locked her in a cell and ignored her for six days. She got help after a guard heard a baby crying.

Her mental illness has delayed the case. It went to trial once previously, but at that time Pope was involuntarily committed to Harborview Medical Center.

A call to the King County prosecutor’s office seeking comment on the case was not immediately returned late Friday afternoon.

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