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by Randy Grant
Saturday, May. 14, 2005 at 8:45 AM
Police use a taser on pregnant woman in her 8th month. The reason, she refused to sign the citation.
Readers react to police use of Taser on pregnant driver
Responses divided on whether officers' action was justified
Seattle Post-Intelligencer | May 13, 2005
When two Seattle police officers and their sergeant decided to arrest a motorist who refused to sign a ticket, the result was a confrontation that only ended after one officer applied a Taser to the woman, who was eight months pregnant at the time. RELATED:
Read the Article: Police used Taser on pregnant driver
Malaika Brooks, the motorist involved, was convicted last week in Seattle Municipal Court of failing to obey a police officer because she did not sign the ticket. The same jury was not able to agree on whether she actually resisted arrest, which is the reason officers say they used a Taser to arrest her.
Her sentencing is set for Wednesday. The Seattle chapter of the NAACP has announced it plans to file a complaint with the Police Department's Office of Professional Accountability.
A story reporting the incident in Tuesday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer drew strong reactions from readers, who responded with more than 150 e-mails.
Most chose a side, saying Brooks should have signed the ticket, or the officers overreacted to the situation.
"Wouldn't a responsible adult sign the ticket, or, when it was obvious she was going to be arrested ... get out of the car?" wrote one Fox Island resident, expressing a common sentiment.
But nearly as many wrote comments such as this one: "The cops you mentioned should be instantly unemployed and permanently cut off the dole of the taxpayers. We really don't need any more cowboys with new toys in career positions that they most obviously cannot intellectually or emotionally negotiate. We have more than enough 'loose cannons' out there on the wrong side of the law without giving those sworn to uphold the law the right to Taser pregnant women over a trifle. Insanity!"
Here is a sample of what some other readers had to say:
"Thank you for the informative article. Please stay on this topic. I value civil rights in this country and I am appalled by the growing number of these Taser attacks on our citizenry. From 6-year-old children to pregnant women speeding, we are all potential victims of the Taser. These are police-state tactics and they need to be exposed by the free press in this country."
"The police should be held accountable for going over the top. I think that there will be a movement to exclude that and other shock devices as a means to subdue perps. ... I think some cops see themselves as sheepdogs and bite sheep (people) at will to make them fearful and obedient."
-- Gib Connor, Kennesaw, Ga.
"So once again, a person not being responsible for their (her) actions. She'll sue and get money, when she chose to be belligerent.
"Any suggestions on how I can change all of society with one more e-mail?"
-- Rob Danforth
"I hope the pregnant woman sues the pants off the Seattle Police Department. The police overreacted."
-- Joe Lobosco, East Greenbush, N.Y.
"It appears a couple of things got lost in our zeal to hammer the police. First, signing the citation is a personal assurance the offender will show up in court to pay the ticket, enter a plea of not guilty or whatever. If she declined to sign, that means she is not giving her word to respond to the court. What would you have done if you had been the cop?"
-- Bob Sherrill
"I read your story with great interest, what an outrage. ... This kind of behavior is unacceptable in a free country."
-- Paul Simon
"Here's the thing: Why didn't she just sign? If she had, there would have been NO confrontation. She says that they could have hurt her unborn fetus, when it boils down to it, this is a woman, regardless of her physical state, that apparently doesn't care about what could have happened to her baby ... otherwise, she would have signed and had her day in court!"
"I am horrified that an officer would use a Taser on a pregnant woman. My wife is black and I am white, so I am very sensitive to racial issues and can somewhat relate to how black people are treated and when I clicked on the link to your article. While I was waiting for your article to load I thought to myself, 'The woman must be black because an officer would never do that to a white woman.' And sure enough the victim is black. That officer and his department should be ashamed and I hope she files a civil action."
-- John Prestage, Stamford, Conn.
"Most rational people will sign a ticket, and if they feel it's unwarranted, fight it in court. What makes her think she should deserve special treatment? It's disgusting! What ever happened to common sense? I hope the officer is not reprimanded. If you ask me, he should be given a citation with a raise."
"I just read your report on the pregnant lady that was Tasered for not signing a ticket, then they try to 'arrest her' for not signing the ticket! Then they Tasered her for not getting out of her car, so they could arrest her!
"It gives me the chills. I am a married mother of two, age 50 and I can see that our police department, while trying to protect themselves, which I do understand, are acting like a police state, where if you don't do as they say, no matter what they say, they will hurt you! What the hell is going on? ... What an awful state we are in!"
-- Susan, Hopkinton, Mass.
"Convenient the way you failed to mention that failure to sign a citation is a crime. How about the fact that she knowingly placed her fetus in danger by refusing to step from the vehicle. While a Taser may have been extreme on a pregnant woman, the culpability clearly lies with the woman by her actions. By claiming to have previously received a citation without signing it clearly shows she lacks any credibility and by publishing this story, you have none either."
-- Ed McKenna
"Was the woman who was eight months pregnant too fast of a runner for the policeman? Anyone with half a brain should know that this was certainly excessive force."
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