Protests have erupted in Kansas City, Missouri, after videos showed a police officer kneeling on the back of a Black pregnant woman while placing her under arrest.
Footage released by KMBC-TV shows at least one officer stretching the arm of the woman lying on the ground before he turns her on her stomach, holds her hands behind her, and kneels on her back while placing her in handcuffs.
According to KMBC, the officers threatened bystanders with arrest if they vocally objected to the arrest. The victim’s lawyer Stacy Shaw told the Associated Press that she was at the location for a balloon release honoring a homicide victim and that the intersection is known for civil justice gatherings.
According to Shaw’s description, an officer “backed into” the woman as she was filming the event, and when she complained, he pushed and threw her to the ground.
Capt. David Jackson, a spokesperson for Kansas City police, told AP that officers were called to the scene by a “business owner” who reported a fight at the scene and that the woman interfered with officers who were trying to arrest another man.
A second video recorded from what appears to be security footage from the area, however, does little to support either of the claims. It shows the woman walking in the parking lot of a gas station.
The woman says something to the cops from a distance before she walks over to a friend. A couple of officers begin to approach her, and then she begins to leave the scene.
The officers try to get a hold of her before people at the scene start to run, and the officers follow.
The arrest takes place out of the view of the camera. A few minutes later, the camera shifts the view to show the incident on the street. A few people around the officer and the woman appear to argue with the cops who make gestures to bystanders to stay away.
The man in the supposed fight, Troy Robertson, said he frequently leads protests in the area and that police have beaten him numerous times, according to AP.
After the footage was released on Friday, protesters gathered in front of City Hall to call for the resignation of Chief Rick Smith, identified as the officer in the video. Civil rights advocates have been calling for Smith’s resignation following protests against police brutality in the last few months, but Smith has said he will not resign.
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