WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. – Maryanne Godboldo endured a mother’s worst nightmare when in May 2011 police and social workers burst into her home without a warrant, seized her then 13-year-old daughter, locked the child in a psychiatric hospital and purportedly doped her with dangerous antipsychotic drugs – but the devoted mom refused to allow authorities rip the little girl from her arms without a fight.
Instead, Godboldo, a former dance teacher who had never before had a run-in with the law, fought to defend her daughter, Ariana, in a 10-hour standoff with a Detroit SWAT team. The standoff resulted in eight felony charges, as authorities say Godboldo fired a gun into the ceiling when police broke down her door. In a hearing Friday in 36th District Court, Judge Richard Skutt dropped felony charges against Godboldo for allegedly discharging her firearm. Protesters rallied outside the courthouse in support of the mother during the hearing.
“This court finds that the defendant in fact did use reasonable force in this case – did not use deadly force … to prevent an illegal attachment, to prevent the removal of her child by the Detroit police,” said Skutt. “This court feels (Detroit police) did not, one, have the authority to remove the child at that time.”
Goldboldo has filed a lawsuit against Wayne County and several individuals in U.S. District Court.
It would have been an inconceivable act to most Americans just a few years ago: Armed police show up at family home, forcibly remove a child without a warrant and jail anyone who stands in their way. As WND reported, even the Supreme Court has recently allowed a lower court judgment supporting the use of a violent SWAT attack in a man’s home based merely on suspicion of wrongdoing.
In the Detroit case, Gosboldo said police and Child Protective Services lied to her, promising that Ariana would be placed in the custody of Maryanne’s sister. She said they also assured her they would not drug Ariana.
“All I wanted to do was protect my daughter,” Gosboldo said. “When they forced her to take Risperdal, Haldol, Lithium and several vaccines, without my knowledge or consent, they almost killed her,” she said. “It was attempted murder.”
Detroit 36th District Court Judge Ronald Giles initially tossed out the charges on the grounds that the child removal order police used to attempt to gain access to Ariana was invalid and, subsequently, all of the evidence in the Godboldo case was inadmissible. But the Court of Appeals reversed his decision – with a catch. The appeals judges actually suggested in their order a different argument that Godboldo’s lawyers can use: an argument of self-defense.
The argument, based on a landmark 2012 Michigan Supreme Court decision, People v. Moreno, retroactively upheld the “common-law” right to resist unlawful arrests, warrant-less home invasions and other unlawful conduct by the police.
“The Court of Appeals, [Godboldo attorney Allison] Folmar and I believe, are expressing another set of facts that the court should look at,” said Godboldo attorney Byron Pitts. “That basic premise that this was a break in by the police, into a single mother’s home protecting her child remains the case and that has never been challenged.”
Godboldo’s fight began four years ago when she made a “difficult” decision to enroll her daughter in public school after several years of homeschooling.
Ariana was required to get a combination of TDAP and meningitis vaccines so she could attend public school, so Godboldo brought her daughter to a local pediatrician who administered the shots.
“Her eyes glazed over, and she immediately became ill. She refused to eat and wouldn’t even play with the dog. That’s how I knew something was really wrong. It all went downhill from there,” Godboldo told WND.
Folmer said Ariana had trouble focusing after receiving the immunizations.
“She wasn’t thinking straight, and she was reaching for things that weren’t there,” she said.
That is when Ariana’s downward spiral began.
“Ariana never had these kinds of problems before,” Godboldo said. “So I took her back to the doctor, and the doctor said it wasn’t the vaccines and referred us to a county mental health agency.”
Godboldo said she was convinced Ariana’s condition was not psychiatric, so she continued to seek the assistance of physicians to treat Ariana’s deteriorating condition. The doctors referred Godboldo to a psychiatric day treatment facility. The mother said she later discovered the facility had a reputation for conducting clinical trials without proper patient consent.
“They wanted to prescribe Risperdal after 10 days, but I told them I didn’t want her on the medication because I wanted tests done first,” she said.
Godboldo took the child to two neurologists and several other doctors who ran further tests. The tests failed to reveal the cause of Ariana’s problems. Doctors referred Godboldo back to the psychiatric facility where, with reservation, she signed a consent form that allowed the doctors to place Ariana on Risperdal. But she said it also allowed her to take Ariana off of the medication at any time.
“Risperdal made Ariana worse,” Folmer said. “She started becoming aggressive.”
Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug cited in several class-action lawsuits for causing breast growth in men, was the subject of a $2.2 billion settlement last November – one of the largest health-care fraud settlements in U.S. history – between maker Johnson & Johnson and the United States Department of Justice, where Johnson & Johnson was accused of promoting the drug for “uses not approved as safe and effective by the FDA and payment of kickbacks to physicians and to the nation’s largest long-term care pharmacy provider,” according to the Justice Department.
Folmer said the problem of authorities “kidnapping” children is not an isolated one.
“For every child they put in foster care in Michigan, the state gets $1,200 for the paperwork,” she said. “This has become a money making business for taking children.”
By the time Godboldo got an answer from a holistic physician about the cause of Ariana’s debilitating neurological symptoms – brain inflammation resulting from the vaccinations – Detroit Child Protective Services worker Mia Wenk had stepped in.
“I told them I was not putting my child back on that medication,” she said.
Godboldo’s refusal resulted in the 10-hour standoff with police when she refused to allow officers into her home without a warrant so they could remove Ariana.
“A CPS worker can walk in judge’s chamber and get a rubber stamp to violate someone’s human and constitution right to steal a person’s child,” Folmer said.
Three days after the order was “rubber stamped,” Wenk and authorities showed up at Godboldo’s doorstep.
“Mary was home cooking dinner for Ariana, and she heard banging on her door,” Folmer said.
That’s when according to court documents, Lt. Michael Nied, also a member of the Michigan National Guard, “retrieved a crowbar from his car, approached the home’s side door, yelled “police,” and pried [it] open.”
Ariana began to scream as the security of her home, and later her mother’s arms, was torn from her grasp.
“Ariana was crying screaming, and Maryanne played classical music to calm her down,” Folmer said.
According to court documents, Officer Kevin Simpson, who was present during the standoff, testified that Lt. Nied did not stop there.
“[He]went up the stairs inside the door, toward another door on a landing, and after finding it locked, attempted to kick in the door,” Simpson said.
When he heard a “loud noise that sounded like a gunshot from the door’s other side,” Simpson said officers retreated back down the stairs. Another officer noticed a “white powder” on Nied’s shoulder, which investigators later identified as plaster powder dislodged by a bullet. The circumstances surrounding the gunshot were heard in court Friday, where Wayne County prosecutors alleged someone inside of Maryanne’s home fired the shot.
Folmer, angered at authorities’ decision to use unauthorized force to gain entry into the home and take the child for psychiatric treatment, asked, “Who makes that decision in this country? A parent’s decision is not trumped by the government.”
Officers separated mom and daughter, both carried away in the back of squad cars – Godboldo to jail for five days – and Ariana back to the mental health institution.
“I had never been to court over this when they showed up to take my daughter. A social worker was making all of these calls,” Godboldo said.
While Ariana was in the custody of the state and the mental health facility – without Godboldo’s knowledge or consent – doctors put the child back on Risperdal and added Haldol to her regimen, a drug commonly used as a “chemical straightjacket” on schizophrenic patients.
Folmer said they also administered 10 more vaccines to the 13-year-old, one of which is the HPV vaccine, which inoculates against the sexually transmitted Human Papilloma Virus.
To keep Ariana from “escaping” the facility, Folmer said workers even confiscated her prosthetic leg.
When Ariana was released, she reportedly arrived home with bruises and cigarette burns on her body.
Godboldo said, “For weeks when it started getting dark at night, Ariana would scream for hours, and it took my sister and family to help me calm her down.”