Cameras Capture Police Throwing 8 Months Pregnant Woman to The Ground, Handcuffing and Arresting Her
Police body cams show video of officers throwing a pregnant woman to the ground, handcuffing and arresting her. Was it justified or excessive force?
A shocking police bodycam video shows the arrest of a woman who screams she's eight months pregnant.
"This is ridiculous! What are you doing? Please! I'm pregnant!" she screamed.
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She was pushed to the ground on her stomach and handcuffed, then dragged to a police car in tears.
"I didn't do anything wrong," she said in the video.
Why was she arrested? The answer may surprise you. Cops say she was obstructing justice because she refused to give them her name and resisted arrest.
Twenty-nine-year-old Charlena Michelle Cooks spoke exclusively to INSIDE EDITION about the disturbing incident that took place.
She told INSIDE EDITION, "I was in pain. I was scared. I thought I was going to die."
It all started after one woman called cops claiming Cooks punched her car window during an argument in an elementary school parking lot in Barstow, California.
In the bodycam video, the woman said, "She scared the hell out of me and I'm like, 'I'm calling the police.'"
But, the officer told her he didn't see any damage.
He said, "I don't see a crime that has been committed."
He then approached Cooks for her side of the story. She'd just dropped off her daughter who is in the second grade at the school.
He asked her, "What is your name, ma'am?"
Cooks responded, "I'm not giving you my name."
He said, "I actually do have the right to ask your name."
INSIDE EDITION's Jim Moret asked Cooks, "Why not give him your name?"
She said, "It's my privacy."
But Cooks did give him her middle name, Michelle, and told him she wanted to call her boyfriend.
The cop said, "Just give me your name please."
Cooks replied, "I just told you, my name is Michelle."
Within seconds, he and another officer moved in to arrest Cooks, ignoring her cries that she is eight months pregnant.
So, was she really required to give her name to police?
Attorney Royal Oakes told INSIDE EDITION, that in his legal opinon, "It's a huge problem for the police that they grabbed this woman when she refused to identify herself. She had a right to clam up, then she tells them 'I'm pregnant' and they still kind of man-handle her. This tape is going to be devastating in court."
Cooks' lawyer, Caree Harper, believes there's a racial component to the incident.
She said, "The question you can't help but to ask in this climate that we're in is, if Miss Cooks were blonde-haired and a caucasian female and eight months pregnant, would she have been thrown to the ground in the manner in which happened here?"
But, police say in a statement, "This incident was in no way racially motivated," adding, "The Barstow Police Department continues to be proactive in training its officers to assess and handle interactions with emotionally charged individuals while conducting an investigation, for the protection of everyone involved."
A judge dismissed all charges against Cooks, and she gave birth to a healthy baby girl in March.
But, as she remembers the moment she refused to give her name to police, she still breaks down.
She told INSIDE EDITION, "I'm just in fear. I'm living in fear and for what? That's the big question 'for what?' What is this all for?"
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