Video: Cops Wrestle 8-Months-Pregnant Woman To Ground
A shocking video was recently released, showing Barstow police wrestling an 8-months-pregnant mother to the ground during an arrest after she refused to show them her identification.
The January 26 arrest was captured on a Barstow police officer's body camera, and it was uploaded to YouTube last week by the ACLU of Southern California.
The incident stemmed from an argument Charlena Michelle Cooks had with an employee at Crestline Elementary School in the school's parking lot after she dropped off her daughter to her second grade class, according to the Desert Dispatch. In the over 11-minute video, we can see police responding to a call from a school employee who tells them that Cooks was driving too fast in the parking lot and almost cut her off. She said she honked at Cooks, and then Cooks got out of her car, punched her car window and then started screaming at her. The officer wearing the body cam tells the school employee that since there are no damages to her car, no crime was committed.
An officer confronts Cooks, who tells him that she, a black woman, felt threatened by the white school employee who honked at her. She adds that she didn't do anything wrong. The officer then asks for her name, and she refuses to give it to him. Cooks calls her boyfriend to ask if she's required to give authorities her name, and in the process, the officer tells her that he has every right to get her name.
That's when things escalate. In the 5:15-minute mark, police try to arrest Cooks. She repeatedly screams, "Do not touch me!" She pleads, "Please, I'm pregnant," as they wrestle her down to the ground, having her lay on her stomach, and cuff her. When she asks what she did wrong, an officer tells her, "You're under arrest for obstructing a police officer."
The ACLU of Southern California said in a press release that Cook was charged with resisting arrest, but a judge later dismissed the charges. ACLU of Southern California staff attorney Adrienna Wong said, "Even if an officer is conducting an investigation, in California, unlike some other states, he can’t just require a person to provide ID for no reason."
Barstow city officials said in a statement that it was "apparent" that Cooks "actively resisted arrest" in the video clip, according to CBS Los Angeles. They also said that race didn't play a factor in their arrest:
The Barstow Police Department continues to be proactive in training its officers to assess and handle interactions with emotionally charged individuals while conducting an investigation, for the protection of everyone involved. This incident was in no way racially motivated, as implied by the ACLU. Barstow is a racially diverse community as is our Police Department, and we affirm our Police Department’s commitment to protect and serve all of our residents.
"I don't think I've ever been that terrified in my life," Cooks told the Desert Dispatch. "I never saw that coming. I told him I was pregnant so he could proceed with caution. That didn't happen and the first thing I thought was I didn't want to fall to the ground. I felt the pressure on my stomach from falling and I was calling for help. But those guys are supposed to help me. But who is supposed to help me when they are attacking me?"
Her baby was born on March 30, and though her baby seems to be healthy, Cooks says she's monitoring her daughter to see if she has any developmental issues.