City of Philadelphia, DHS worker blamed for boy's death

By Bree Gonzales | Nov 14, 2018

PHILADELPHIA — An aunt of a decedent minor is suing the City of Philadelphia and Issiar Santa-Torres, government entity and DHS worker, citing an alleged violation of civil rights.

Kiana Brookens filed a complaint on Oct. 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the defendants, alleging they failed to protect a minor's constitutional rights.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that between June 7, 2016 and Nov. 30, 2016, Z.W., a 2-year-old, was involved in domestic violence when her mother was physically assaulted by her boyfriend while she was holding Z.W. Such violence was allegedly repeated the following month. 

On Nov. 29, 2016, police responded to an emergency call for a non-responsive child. Z.W was brought to St. Christopher's Hospital. Despite resuscitation efforts, Z.W was pronounced dead on Nov. 30 at 2:10 a.m. The plaintiff holds the City of Philadelphia and Issiar Santa-Torres responsible because the defendants allegedly failed to properly document the previous removal of Z.W. from the mother's custody and other information. Furthermore, Santa-Torres -- despite knowing the minor's condition was unsafe under the mother's care and supervision -- returned Z.W. to the mother's custody, the suit says.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks judgment be entered against defendants for damages and all other further relief the court deems just and equitable. She is represented by Thomas Kline, Dominic Guerrini, and Ella Robertson of Kline & Specter P.C. in Philadelphia.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case No. is  2:18-cv-04640-MSG.

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City of Philadelphia Kline & Specter PC U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

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