*What would make police officers throw a woman eight months pregnant to the ground?
The reason remains unclear, yet footage from a police body cam has been obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California, and it shows Barstow police officers slamming a pregnant woman to the ground.
Apparently, there had been a traffic dispute between an unidentified white woman and an African American woman named Charlena Michelle Cooks, and the police was called.
Cooks was eight months pregnant at the time.
The white woman told the officer that Cooks was acting “all crazy.” The officer responded , “I don’t see a crime that has been committed,” but promised the woman he would file a police report. Then he headed over to talk to Cooks.
Cooks told the officer that the woman disagreed with her driving and was threatening her, and scaring her second-grade daughter.
“She called the police for whatever reason, I don’t know,” Cooks says. “Should I feel threatened by her because she’s white? Because she’s white and she’s making threats to me?”
The officer then asked for her name, and Cooks told him she didn’t have to provide that information, to which he replied, “I actually do have the right to ask you for your name.”
Cooks wanted to make a call to see if the officer was correct; and the officer gave her a few minutes to do so. But after only 20 seconds, he performed a wrist-lock take-down and forced her to the ground, belly-first.
Cooks screamed as the officer yelled, “Why are you resisting?”
“Please! I’m pregnant!” Cooks can be heard yelling on the video. “Please, stop this!”
Its interesting to see how, after they had placed Cooks in the patrol car, an officer actually asks the officer who led the take down if he “was OK.”
This wasn’t asked of the pregnant woman who was tackled to the ground, but of the officer who tacked her.
Then, as the officer is relaying the story as to what happened to other officers who have now arrived on the scene. The white woman’s story has become fact.
Though the charges against Cooks have since been dropped, she admits she no longer feels safe in the small city of Barstow. She had even been banned from her daughters school, until after the charges were dropped.
“I’m in a very fearful state of mind,” Cooks told the Desert Dispatch. “Barstow is so small and I used to be comfortable living here. Not anymore. I really felt like after all that happened I had some of my everyday freedoms taken from me,” she said.
And as it turns out, Cooks was right to believe she did not have to show ID, according to ACLU SoCal staff attorney Adrienna Wong,
“Officers in California should not be using the obstruction law, Penal Code 148, to arrest someone for failing to provide ID, when they can’t find any other reason to arrest them,” Wong said.
So far, Cooks’ baby, born in March, appears fine. But the mother plans to keep a close eye on her child to ensure she suffers no ill effects from the trauma.
“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?”
Watch the full footage of Charlena Michelle Cooks’ arrest: