A crowd of protesters and reporters stood by helplessly as social workers seized a screaming six-year-old girl from her white foster family in California because she is part Native American.
The little girl, Lexi, is 1.5 per cent Choctaw blood, and under America's Indian Child Welfare Act, she must only live with other Native American families, Britain's Mail Online reports.
But she has only ever known Summer and Rusty Page as her parents. They've been her foster parents for five years after she was removed from the custody of her biological mother who had a substance abuse problem.
The Rustys spent the last two-and-a-half years unsuccessfully trying to adopt her, the UK report said.
Lexi sobbed, clinging to her foster father as he reluctantly fought through the crowd outside the family home to hand her over to the Department of Children and Families in Santa Clarita.
"Don't let them take me away," she screamed, the sad scene recorded on video shown by KTLA.
Summer Page rushed from the family home screaming, "I love you, Lexi" as her foster daughter was put in the back of a car with government workers.
Lexi's foster siblings repeatedly screamed "no" and sobbed hysterically as their sister was taken.
Lexi will live with a couple in Utah who are not Native Americans but are related by marriage to her father who is.
According to court records cited by the Los Angeles Daily News, Lexi's biological father had an extensive criminal history.
The foster parents were denied an emergency stay to keep the part-Native American child, days before she was handed over.
Grief-stricken, Rusty Page spoke to the crowd before giving Lexi up, saying: "We will, with very heavy hearts, comply with the order and we'll be waiting here for them to come take her. That's all I can say."