Protesters Gather in Kansas City After Officer Kneels on Pregnant Black Woman’s Back
Kansas City Police are facing mounting backlash against a circulating video of an officer kneeling on a pregnant black woman.
CNN reports that the incident occurred shortly before 11 p.m. on September 30th outside a gas station on 35th Street and Prospect. Officials reportedly responded to a phone call from a security officer who claimed "15 to 20 people were fighting on the company's property". Security material released by the police shows a group of people outside the gas station. Some of the people were seen pushing each other.
The KCPD alleged that one of the men at the scene physically disrupted the officers' investigation and refused to leave the property. According to the police department, the officers then tried to arrest the man, but the crowd physically prevented them from doing so. Police say that at some point during the attempted arrest, a woman and another man tried to pull the suspect away from officers. At that point, another officer stepped in and arrested the woman who was later identified as Deja Stallings.
According to police, Stallings - a 25-year-old who is reportedly nine months pregnant - has been arrested for disability and disorder. The video of the arrest, recorded by Chanel Le'Yoshe, shows Stallings face down on the floor as she is arrested by officers. KCPD claims that an officer first tried to arrest the woman standing up, but "she continued to physically resist the arrest. At that point, he put her on the floor to effect the arrest."
Many noted that an officer was seen pressing his knee against Stallings' lower back before being rolled over and brought into an upright sitting position. Police said that "the officer who arrested the woman said he was careful not to put any leg pressure on." Le'Yoshe's video doesn't show the moments that led to Stalling's arrest.
In the days since the video went online, protesters have gathered outside City Hall calling for Police Chief Richard Smith to step down. Protesters are also demanding that the city divert 50 percent of the police department's budget to social service groups that benefit the black community.
"The only question is why this officer's body hit a pregnant woman and put his knee and back down," Stallings' attorney Stacy Shaw told CNN. "What they are saying is because they asked her to leave, because she pulled this away from an officer, which kind of justifies a tall white officer whose body is slamming a nine month pregnant woman weighing 120 pounds and her arm turning head and kneeling in her back. "
Shaw said Stalling received medical treatment for nerve problems as a result of the incident, but the baby appears unharmed.
A spokesman for the KCPD said the police chief had no intention of resigning. The department has also refused to identify the officers involved, none of whom are subject to disciplinary action because of the incident.
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