Two women: one Blonde, one Black (and pregnant). They have a disagreement in a parking lot. Guess which one gets body-slammed to the asphalt by police?
The situation reportedly started after an unidentified white woman argues with a black woman (identified as Charlena Michelle Cooks), over the route she took through the elementary school parking lot[ref]Raw Story[/ref] and called the police.
Highlights of the activity that ensued:
- The officer arrives
- The white woman tells her side of the story
- The officer examines the white woman’s car and says, “I don’t see a crime that has been committed”
- The officer approaches the black woman, who mentions that the white woman’s threatening deportment scared her 2nd grade daughter
- The officer asks for the black woman’s name (which she has the legal right to withhold according to ACLU SoCal staff attorney Adrienna Wong)
- The officer performs a painful wristlock takedown, forcing Cooks to the ground belly first
- The officer asks, “Why are you resisting?”
- Cooks replies, “Please! I’m pregnant! Please, stop this!”
- The officer forces Cooks to the ground upon her pregnant belly
Below is the police bodycam footage:
A related report from CBS Los Angeles[ref]CBS Local, Los Angeles[/ref]:
Cooks was later charged with resisting arrest. That charge was later dismissed by a judge[ref]CBS News[/ref].
According to the Desert Dispatch[ref]Desert Dispatch[/ref]:
Barstow city officials said after reviewing a video of a police officer arresting a pregnant woman in January it was “apparent” that Charlena Michelle Cooks “actively resisted arrest.”
The city issued its statement in response to the American Civil Liberties Union’s release of the video last week.
“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,” the statement read.
The ACLU released the video before reporting a settlement agreement with the city of Barstow that awarded two Northern California brothers $30,000 stemming their 2014 arrest. The brothers were arrested on suspicion of resisting or obstructing a peace officer or other public safety official after not providing their identification to Barstow officers at a local restaurant.
The agreement forces the Barstow Police Department to retrain officers on stop-and-identify laws.
Previously, another California police department paid a $30,000 settlement for arresting two men who refused to provide their identification[ref]Photography is not a Crime[/ref]. We are curious to learn how much (if anything) Ms. Cooks receives.
The official statement from the Barstow Police Department[ref]RT America[/ref]:
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… 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.
Following this event, Cooks was banned from the school property[ref]NY Daily News[/ref]. Hmm… how then does her 2nd grader safely get to and from the school?
So, what are your thoughts about this situation? Feel free to post comments below: