10:14 AM PT -- 8/14 The Manatee County Sheriff's Office tells TMZ the kid was picked up by order of a family court judge.
The agency adds, "We understand that from the outside looking in The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Child Protection Investigation Division’s actions may seem uncaring, but let me assure you we have the best interest of children and families in mind at all times."
MCSO goes on to say, "We are governed by numerous policies and laws to ensure we do not lose focus when dealing with vulnerable families. The last thing anyone in this business wants to do is shelter children from their parents, but sometimes it is the only direction we are forced to take. By law, we always attempt to shelter children with another family member prior to any other placement. When not possible, we attempt to shelter with a non-relative known to the family, and as a last resort we shelter with other resources."
They finish with, "When the need arises to shelter children the families are given guidance as to how to successfully reach goals to be reunified with their children as soon as possible."
This video shows former "American Idol" finalist Syesha Mercado absolutely beside herself, in tears, as law enforcement takes her newborn baby following a child protective services investigation ... and the video is stirring outrage.
Syesha sobbed as she reluctantly handed over her baby daughter to Manatee County Sheriff's deputies Wednesday in Florida. Cops insisted she surrender the child during a welfare check.
You see Syesha begging the deputies not to take her baby ... then pumping breast milk into a bottle to send off with her daughter, who was eventually taken away in the back of a SUV.
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The newborn is reportedly the second child authorities have taken from Syesha this year. Her toddler son was placed in foster care following a hospital visit where a doctor sounded an alarm, claiming the boy was malnourished.
In this video, Syesha asks law enforcement why they're taking her baby girl, and she's told it's because she didn't tell authorities she'd given birth while the legal battle for custody of her son was ongoing.
Syesha insists her newborn is happy and healthy, claiming she has all the paperwork to keep the kid, and saying cops should have contacted her attorney -- but in the end, she lost custody.
The emotional video is sparking outrage online, with some folks accusing authorities of racism.