A woman claims that police stomped on her when she was pregnant and caused her to have a miscarriage when they pulled over her and her fiancée in San Leandro in 2019.
Emerald Black, who is being represented by the law offices of well-known civil rights attorney John Burris, filed the complaint against the city this week in the U.S. District Court Northern District of California.
On June 7, 2019, the visibly pregnant Black was a passenger in a car driven by her fiancée. The couple had been to Alta Bates Medical Center in Oakland earlier that day, where Black was informed she had a high-risk pregnancy prone to a miscarriage, according to the lawsuit.
They were pulled over on Lucille Street in San Leandro because of her fiancée’s bad registration tags. While unidentified officers stopped them, she was allegedly ordered to get out of the car.
Black told officers she was pregnant and had just come from the hospital. But the lawsuit claims the officers then “yanked” Black from the car, taunted her, “stomped on her stomach, piled on top of her and arrested her.”
Black claims that because of this excessive force, she had a miscarriage days later. Besides the loss of her child, she also suffered other physical injuries, embarrassment, humiliation and emotional stress, the lawsuit alleges.
No criminal charges were filed against Black.
Black’s attorney, Patrick Buelna, said in a statement to this news organization that it should be noted that Black, who is African American, “had committed absolutely no crimes, nor was she even suspected of any.”
“If officers were adamant about her exiting the car, they should have simply, and gently, assisted Ms. Black getting out of the car. Instead, they treated her like she had just committed a violent felony, tore her from the car, piled on top of her and stomped on her stomach,” he said.
“Ms. Black was devastated by the loss of her unborn child caused by the officers’ senseless and grotesque behavior,” he continued.
City Manager Eric Engelbart said in a statement Wednesday, June 3, 2020, that the city is aware of allegations made by Black.
“Based on our review of the allegations, the city has determined that they are without merit. As a result, the city has denied a claim for damages and plans to vigorously defend the lawsuit. Given the pending litigation, the city is not able to offer additional statements regarding this matter at this time,” Engelbart said.
In 2017, a couple sued BART for similar allegations of excessive force when they were stopped by BART police in San Francisco’s Embarcadero station. Andrea Appleton’s boyfriend was stopped in July 2016 because he matched a description of an armed suspect who officers were looking for. Appleton was pinned to the ground and handcuffed. A day later, she suffered complications from the encounter and suffered a miscarriage. The encounter was caught on camera and went viral on social media at the time.
Mercury News: Woman claims San Leandro police ‘stomped’ on her while pregnant, causing miscarriage
Daily News: California woman claims police officers ‘stomped on her stomach,’ caused miscarriage in new lawsuit
KUTV: Lawsuit: Police stomped on pregnant black woman’s stomach causing miscarriage
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