The visibly pregnant woman was accused of impeding the arrest of a suspect but video showed she didn't do much to stop the arrest.
Trigger warning: This report has details of race-motivated violence, and police brutality that readers may find disturbing
A horrifying video shows a Kansas City police officer kneeling on the back of a visibly pregnant Black woman and twisting her arms near a gas station. The police officers forced the 25-year-old Deja Stallings, who's nine months pregnant, onto the ground before kneeling on her back while tackling a gathering near the gas station, reported CNN. Police claim the owners of a convenience store and gas station complained of 15-20 individuals fighting on the business' property. The cops were responding to the alleged altercation and claim the pregnant woman tried to protect an alleged suspect from getting arrested but the woman's lawyers disputed the Kansas City police's version. Irrespective of the cause of the arrest, there is no reason for a police officer to kneel on the back of a pregnant woman.
"The question is only why this officer body-slammed a pregnant woman and put his knee and her back," said Stacy Shaw, Stallings' attorney. "What they're saying is because they asked her to leave because she was pulling this away from an officer that that somehow justifies a white, large officer, body slamming 120-some pound, nine-month pregnant woman, twisting her arm above her head and kneeling in her back."
The video of the incident went viral and protesters have now occupied the lawn in front of City Hall for more than five days. Deja Stallings' lawyer identified his client as the woman on whose back the police had kneeled on. Stallings' attorney Shaw said her client wasn't trying to protect the suspect the cops were trying to arrest as they had claimed. The Kansas City Police Department claimed they were responding to a situation on September 30 at 10:49 p.m. A security officer at the gas station and convenience store called the emergency line claiming there were "15-20 individuals fighting on the business' property."
According to the police's statement, the owner of the convenience store told the cops he "wanted everyone off the property who wasn't buying anything." The cops released security footage of the area at the time showing about a dozen people gathered by the business. The could be seen pushing each other at times. The cops claimed one of the men "physically interfered" with the cops' investigation and refused to leave the property despite being asked to. The officers attempted to arrest the man but the crowd prevented the officer from arresting him. The suspect started running but tripped up and was eventually arrested. The cops claimed the woman had tried to protect the suspect from cops and was thus arrested. "At that time, a woman (seen in the video) and a man tried to pull the suspect away from officers," read the statement. The security footage contradicts with the level of obstruction detailed in the police's statement.
The video showed the woman briefly steps between an officer and the suspect but the officer quickly goes past her without obstruction to chase after the suspect and arrest him within 5 feet away from Deja Stallings. The cops then tried to arrest Stallings but "she continued to physically resist arrest, at which point he placed her on the ground to effect the arrest." Considering Stallings didn't physically impede the officer's arrest of the suspect, you'd expect Stallings to resist arrest for doing nothing.
The officer forcefully pushed Stallings onto the ground and kneeled on her back and buttocks and twisted her arms to arrest her. Police claimed the "the officer who arrested the woman stated he took care not to apply pressure with his legs." Chanel Le'Yoshe, who was at the scene, caught the incident on tape. The video starts at Stallings already face down on the ground. Le'Yoshe said the people gathered at the location were part of a local Black activist, who was releasing some balloons to honor a victim of violence. Le'Yoshe confirmed that there was no fighting prior to the cops arriving at the scene.
A group of people protested the incident and called for the resignation of Police Chief Richard Smith and demanded the city redirect 50 percent of the police department's budget to social services aimed at the city's Black community, the lawyer said. Shaw said that Stallings has "nerve issues with her back" as well as a large bruise but confirmed baby appears to be uninjured by the incident. "I am a traumatized pregnant woman. I am not a threat. My baby girl has not even been born yet and she is a victim of police brutality,” said Stallings at the protest.
COVER IMAGE SOURCE: YouTube/41 Action News