Videos appear to show a police officer in Kansas City, MO kneeling on a pregnant woman’s back while arresting her, ABC News reported. The incident incited calls for the officer concerned to be fired and the police chief to resign.
The Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) is currently investigating the situation and looking to see if there is additional surveillance video existing according to the Salina Post.
The woman in question is Deja Stallings, a 25-year-old black woman who is nine months pregnant, as reported by KMBC CBS 7. The manner of her arrest has drawn heavy criticism from local activists.
Kevin Woolfolk of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City said, “The most recent act of brutality of a pregnant woman, an unborn child, is yet another example of the culture of brutality, callousness and disregard for the citizens of our community.”
“This cannot and will not be dismissed, this double assault on humanity,” added Reverend Rodney Williams, president of the Kansas City chapter of the NAACP.
Stallings’s attorney Stacy Shaw said, “This is another example of the lack of humanity that the Kansas City police department has shown to the Black community. It’s another instance of how people in our community have suffered at the hands of Chief Rick Smith and officers of the police department … There is no justification, there is no excuse and we will be holding the officers accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Police say that the video, taken on a cell phone, does not tell the whole story. Kansas City Police spokesman Capt. Dave Jackson said the problem started when officers were called to the scene in eastern Kansas City by a gas station security guard reporting a fight in the parking lot.
Police video shows a number of people arguing and shoving one another. The officers arrived and attempt to disperse the crowd. One man keeps returning to the scene despite the officers’ admonitions. At this point, they attempted to arrest the man, Troy Robertson, a veteran protester for trespassing. Robertson resisted, and Stallings grabbed and grappled with the officers. Stallings was arrested for physically interfering with an arrest.
Captain Jackson said Stallings was only placed on the ground because she continued to resist arrest. He insisted, “The officer who arrested the woman said he took care not to apply pressure with his legs.” As a precaution, Stallings was taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation and released to police custody. Shaw said that Stallings saw an obstetrician the next day and reported that the baby was uninjured.
Local groups, including the Urban League of Greater Kansas City and the Kansas City chapter of the NAACP, called for the resignation of Police Chief Rick Smith. They also harshly criticized Kansas City’s black Mayor, Quinton Lucas, a Democrat, for not responding adequately to complaints concerning alleged police brutality.
Captain Jackson refused to comment on the calls for Smith’s firing or any disciplinary action against the officer involved in the arrest, saying that the police do not comment on personnel issues.