A Northern California woman said she suffered a miscarriage after Bay Area Rapid Transit police officers forced her down on her stomach, placed a knee on her back and cuffed her hands behind her back, even after she told them she was pregnant, which violates a department policy forbidding the handcuffing of pregnant women behind their backs.
But BART police blamed it all on Andrea Appleton’s boyfriend, whom they say refused to comply, according to SF Gate.
However, videos show Michael Smith only stopped complying after they already had him and her facedown on the ground with their hands behind their backs.
And only because they would not get off his girlfriend after she had told them she was pregnant.
“She’s pregnant, she’s pregnant,” he said as he began squirming in their grasp, sparking a struggle that resulted in him being charged with several counts of battery against police.
Considering police had detained them at gunpoint solely on the basis of an anonymous caller who falsely accused Smith of trying to rob him at gunpoint, it does not appear as if they had reasonable suspicion to detain him with such in the first place – especially considering they never once informed them why they were detaining them.
The incident took place on July 29 as BART police were responding to a call from a white man claiming a black man wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt threatened to rob him with a gun on the train.
However, two witnesses testified in court that the white man was harassing the black couple – not that he was ever charged with making a false report.
Appleton, 24, was in her first trimester and on her way to the doctor with Smith, her 22-year-old boyfriend. But they stepped off at an earlier stop to avoid further confrontation with the man.
That was when they were greeted by police with their guns drawn, forcing them down on the ground.
“I’m pregnant,” Appleton can be heard telling the cop as she is placed facedown on the ground.
But a cop continues to force a knee into her back.
About 20 seconds later, Smith tells them she is pregnant and begins squirming. After several minutes of struggling, Smith lifts his head up and appears to spit at a cop, which results in the cop punching him in the face.
Appleton said she lost the baby two weeks later.
Last week, a jury acquitted Smith of four battery charges, but were deadlocked on other misdemeanor charges, so it’s up to prosecutors to refile them if they want.
The top video is the short segment where the couple informs the cops she is pregnant. The second video is a compilation of all videos, including from bystanders, of the entire incident.