By Sandra Rose  | 

Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Syesha Mercado and her partner have retained civil rights lawyer Ben Crump to represent them in a custody battle in Florida.

The American Idol contestant and her partner, Tyron Deneer, lost custody of their newborn during a roadside encounter with Florida deputies on Wednesday, August 11.

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According to DailyMail.com, the couple was riding in a car with Deener's three children, ages 8, 7 and 5, from a previous relationship when the car was surrounded by sheriff's deputies.

The officers gave the couple a court order to hand over their then-10-day-old daughter, Asset Sba, for a checkup at a hospital.

The deputies said they were ordered by family court to take the newborn, TMZ reported.

In video footage, a tearful Mercado is seen slowly walking her newborn daughter over to DCF officials, pleading with them not to take her.

Mercado and Deneer's 15-month-old son, Amen'Ra, was taken away from the couple in March amid reports that the boy was severely malnourished.

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Both children remain in "medical foster care" with an "estranged relative."

"We don't want to say where for their safety, but they are not with their parents. And not with the person they would choose," said Crump's co-counsel Louis Baptiste.

Mercado, 34, explained her anguish in a video press conference on Tuesday.

"I went somewhere to get assistance. My baby was supposed to come home with me. We should have nor been criminalize for getting assistance for something."

Deneer added:

"If this can happen to us, it can happen to you. We have no criminal background. We have no history with DCF. We have done nothing wrong."

Mercado said she and Deneer are "just missing out on so many precious moments" with their young children.

"I am a first-time mom and I've been deprived of holding my babies, and feeding my babies. I didn't get to see Ra say, 'Mama' for the first time. I didn't get to see my babies meet for the first time. I didn't get to see that and I can't go back and redo that moment, I will never be able to go back and redo that moment.

"If you are a parent, if you are a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, just know that we have agencies in place that have the ability to remove children without you breaking the law or abusing your niece, nephew, son."

Crump criticized the Manatee County Sheriff's Office for "dehumanizing" Mercado and Deneer.

The couple created a GoFundMe account that raised more than $420,000 of a $200,000 goal.