A California woman filed a lawsuit against the San Leandro Police Department on Monday, claiming excessive force caused her to lose her unborn baby.
The Mercury News reports that the incident happened on June 7, 2019, when plaintiff Emily Black and her fiance were pulled over by San Leandro police for bad registration tags. According to the lawsuit, filed at the U.S. District Court Northern District of California, unnamed officers demanded that Black and her fiance get out of the vehicle.
Black told officers she was pregnant, according to court documents, but they allegedly pulled her out of the car and “stomped on her stomach, piled on top of her and stomped on her stomach, leaving a shoe mark.” Several days later, Black had a miscarriage.
“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,” Black’s lawyer, Patrick Buelna, said.
Deputy City Manager Eric Engelbart said that the city disagrees with Black’s allegations and plans to “vigorously defend the lawsuit.”
“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.”
Black said that she was at the hospital earlier on the day in question, where her physician told her she had a high-risk pregnancy, according to the lawsuit. She was still wearing hospital clothing when the incident occurred.
Vice News reports that Black said she told the officers that her pregnancy was high-risk and asked if she could stay in the car. The officers allegedly refused her request and even refused to let her put shoes on after the alleged attack.
“Ms. Black, a pregnant African-American female, was torn from the car even after informing officers that she was pregnant and had just left the hospital,” Buelna added. “Ms. Black simply asked to remain in the car because she was pregnant and had just left the hospital earlier that day and learned she was at risk for a miscarriage.”
“It is important to note that Ms. Black had committed absolutely no crimes, nor was she even suspected of any. She was simply a passenger in the car being pulled over for a minor vehicle infraction.”
No criminal charges were filed against Black, according to her attorney.
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