Three On One: Video Catches San Antonio Texas Police Officers Beating Handcuffed Pregnant Woman

July 11, 2012

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – Did San Antonio Police Officers use excessive force on a pregnant woman? That’s what the Department is looking into tonight, after a Fox San Antonio viewer shot video of three officers holding down a pregnant woman. One of those officers hits her repeatedly.

It was the sound of a woman screaming that caught Lorenzo Rios’s attention. “All I heard was her yelling to get off me, I heard her yell I’m pregnant,” said Rios. So, he started to record this video with his cell phone. “She was already cuffed and they started to beat her, which I don’t think was right. It was pretty messed up. She was already down and pretty small compared to the other officers.”

According to a police report, 21-year-old Destiny Rios was arrested for prostitution and resisting arrest. She’s 5’1, 126 pounds and pregnant. “She did look pregnant, she looked about two months pregnant,” said Rios. It was the 4th of July around 5:30 p.m., when an officer saw Rios walking on Culebra. When he stopped to ask her name, he found out she had an active warrant for prostitution. When he started to arrest her, she fought back.

“Size makes no difference, it’s the amount of fight in the person,” said Chief William McManus, San Antonio Police. Fox San Antonio gave the police department a copy of the video, but the Chief says he didn’t see it. When we offered to show him, he said he didn’t need to see it. “What’s on the video is in my understanding is what the officer reported.” But, we found inconsistencies. We counted eight hits in the video, but the police report only says there were four or five. “Whether it was four or five or whether it was 8, it’s really irrelevant if the officer felt he needed to strike her 8 times in order to get her to comply and put handcuffs on, then that’s how many times he struck her,” said McManus.

Rios also told police she used heroin the day before. The man behind the camera says no one deserves this. “She didn’t need to be beaten like that like, she was small, she was already cuffed, she wasn’t resisting but for them to come and jump on her and punch her not once, but 9 times that was pretty messed up,” said Rios.

The police report says once handcuffs were on her, she was not struck. The Chief says he’s looking into all of this, but right now all of the officers are still on regular duty. Rios suffered minor injuries. Tonight, she’s still in the Bexar County Jail.

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Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Cases Involving Attacks By Police Using Taser Weapons – Pregnant Woman Who Wouldn’t Sign Ticket Assaulted

May 29, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The US Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take up the appeal of a pregnant woman who was shocked three times with a police Taser after she refused to sign a traffic ticket for driving 32 miles per hour in a 20 m.p.h. school zone.

The woman, Malaika Brooks, was seven months pregnant and was driving her 11-year-old son to school in Seattle at the time of the speeding violation.

At issue in the case was whether police acted reasonably in deploying the Taser after Ms. Brooks refused to sign the speeding ticket and then refused to voluntarily exit her car to allow officers to place her under arrest.

The justices were being asked to examine under what circumstances police use of a Taser device crosses the line from acceptable law enforcement tactic to excessive force.

The high court also declined to hear a second police Taser case involving a woman in Maui, Hawaii, Jayzel Mattos, who was intentionally shocked with a Taser as police attempted to arrest her husband, Troy, following a domestic abuse allegation.

Both Brooks and Ms. Mattos filed suit against the police, alleging they violated their Fourth Amendment right to be free from the use of excessive force. Lawyers for the police officers argued that the officers were protected from such lawsuits by qualified immunity.

In both cases, federal judges ruled that the police officers were not entitled to qualified immunity, and that the cases should proceed to a trial.

The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling that even though the actions by police amounted to the excessive use of force, the law was not established clearly enough at the time of both incidents to give police fair warning that their actions were unreasonable and unconstitutional.

“We conclude that Brooks and the Mattoses have alleged constitutional violations, but that not every reasonable officer at the time of the respective incidents would have known – beyond debate – that such conduct violates the Fourth Amendment,” the Ninth Circuit said.

The high court decision not to take up the two cases allows the Ninth Circuit decision to stand.

The Taser incident with Brooks took place in November 2004. The 33-year-old expectant mother was pulled over by a police officer and issued a ticket for driving too fast in a school zone.

Under Seattle law, traffic violators are required to sign their tickets upon receipt. Failure to sign the ticket is itself a violation of the law.

After stopping at the side of the road, Brooks told her son to walk the rest of the way to school. She then told the officer that she did not believe she was speeding in the school zone and that she felt signing the ticket was an admission of guilt. She told the officer she wished to contest the charge.

Another officer and a police sergeant soon arrived on the scene. The officers insisted that unless Brooks signed the ticket she would be arrested and taken to jail. As further incentive an officer produced a Taser.

Brooks told the officer she did not know what a Taser was. She added: “I have to go to the bathroom, I am pregnant, I’m less than 60 days from having my baby.”

The officers attempted to physically remove Brooks from the car, but she held tightly to the steering wheel. One of the officers then used the Taser to deliver an electric shock to Brooks, first to her thigh, then her arm, and finally to her neck. The three shocks took place within 42 seconds.

She was then pulled from the car to the ground, handcuffed, and taken to jail.

A jury later convicted her of refusing to sign a traffic citation. No verdict was reached on a resisting arrest charge.

Brooks gave birth to a healthy baby girl in January 2005. Brooks has permanent burn scars at the Taser contact points, according to briefs filed in the case.

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Fulton County Georgia Fired Two 911 Operators For Getting Pregnant

May 18, 2012

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – Two women gave birth to two healthy girls two years ago. But before that, they both lost their jobs as Fulton County 911 operator trainees because of their pregnancies, they said.

After a lengthy investigation, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission agreed with them that they were discriminated against, Channel 2 Action News reported.

Now, Leeneeka Bell and Que’ana Morris say they plan to file a lawsuit against Fulton County.

The women told Channel 2 that they were pregnant with complications during their training.

Morris said her supervisor told her, “Once you rectify your problem which is your pregnancy then you can come back.”

The women said co-workers with the Department of Emergency Services had reason to worry.

“I think a lot of people got scared if they were thinking of becoming pregnant,” Bell said. “The story was, ‘Look what happened to the other two.'”

A statement from a Fulton County representative to Channel 2 said, “Fulton County is a progressive and inclusive employer that fully complies with relevant federal laws as well as our own internal policies and procedures. At no time did Fulton County take any prohibited action against the employees in question.”

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Veteran Coral Gables Florida Police Officer Christino Perez Arrested, Suspended, Charged With Beating His Pregnant Sister-In-Law

March 28, 2011

CORAL GABLES, FLORIDA – A South Florida cop may have had the door slammed on his career and his freedom after he was arrested for allegedly hitting a pregnant woman.

Christino Perez, 45, has been relieved of duty from his job as a Coral Gables police officer, a city statement stated Monday.

Little information has been released about the arrest, but Coral Gables PD confirmed Perez’s troubles stem from pending criminal charges from an off-duty incident.

The alleged victim was Perez’s six-month pregnant sister-in-law, Justnews.com reported, quoting an arrest report.

Perez is a six-year veteran of the Police Department.

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