Pregnant Woman Tased Three Times for Speeding
May 17, 2012
Pregnant ladies aren’t entirely as delicate as common opinion would have us believe. After all, they’ll be pushing out an entire little person at the end of that third trimester—if that isn’t resilience, we don’t know what is! Nevertheless, there are still certain things you should not do to an expectant mother—tasing being very high on that list. But that did not stop Seattle police from tasing a pregnant woman three times after she was pulled over for speeding, according to the New York Times.
Malaika Brooks was seven-months-pregnant and taking her 11-year-old son to school when she was stopped for driving at 32 mph; the speed limit was 20 mph. Although Malaika said that she would accept a ticket, she refused to sign it because she wrongly believed that doing so would be an acknowledgment of guilt. And while that is not the case, refusal to sign a ticket is a crime.
The police summoned a sergeant, who instructed them to arrest her. When Malaika would not get out of the car, one of the officers took out a taser and asked her whether she knew what it was. Malaika did not. “I have to go to the bathroom,” she said instead. “I am pregnant. I’m less than 60 days from having my baby.”
In a petition the police submitted to the Supreme Court, they describe Malaika as a “large (230 pounds), strong woman” and that while the “plaintiff had claimed to be pregnant” it was a claim that “the officers could not objectively verify due to the plaintiff’s size.” The police proceeded to tase Malaika’s left thigh, causing her to cry out and honk the car horn. She was tased two more times, in her left arm and neck, before falling over. The police officers then dragged her into the street, laying Malaika on her stomach while handcuffing her hands behind her back.
Thankfully, Malaika’s baby was unharmed—she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. But she sued the police officers involved in the incident over the intense pain and permanent scars they had caused. The police ultimately won the court case, though the majority ruled that while the officers were immune to Malaika’s claim, they did indeed use excessive force. It was seen as a warning that any future use of tasers by the police force might cross a constitutional line. The police appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn the lower court ruling in an attempt to clear their names and preserve the unrestricted use of “a useful pain technique.”
What do you think of the case? Do you think that the police officers had no choice but to tase this woman or did they go too far?