The Kansas City Police Department faces mounting backlash over a circulating video that shows an officer kneeling on a pregnant Black woman.
CNN reports the incident occurred shortly before 11 p.m. on Sept. 30, outside a gas station at 35th Street and Prospect. Officers reportedly responded to a call from a security officer who claimed there were "15-20 individuals fighting on the business's property." Security footage released by police show a group of people outside the gas station. Some of the individuals were seen shoving each other.
The KCPD claimed one of the men at the scene physically interfered with the officers' investigation and refused to leave the property. According to the police department, officers then tried to arrest the man, however, the crowd physically prevented them from doing so. Police say that at some point during the attempted arrest, a woman and another man tried to pull the suspect away from officers; at that point, another officer stepped in and apprehended the woman, who was later identified as Deja Stallings.
Police say Stallings—a 25-year-old who is reportedly nine months pregnant—was being arrested for hindering and interfering. Video of the arrest, taken by Chanel Le'Yoshe, shows Stallings face down on the ground as she is being detained by officers. KCPD claims an officer initially tried to arrest the woman as she was standing up, but "she continued to physically resist arrest, at which point he placed her on the ground to effect the arrest."
Many noted that an officer was seen pressing his knee against Stallings' lower back before she was rolled over and placed in an upright sitting position. The police department claimed "the officer who arrested the woman stated he took care not to apply pressure with his legs." Le'Yoshe's video does not show the moments leading up to Stalling's arrest.
In the days since the video was posted online, protestors have gathered in front of the city hall demanding the resignation of the Police Chief Richard Smith. Protestors are also calling for the city to redirect 50 percent of the police department's budget toward social service groups that benefit the Black community.
"The question is only why this officer body slammed a pregnant woman and put his knee and her back," Stallings' attorney, Stacy Shaw, told CNN. "What they're saying is because they asked her to leave, because she was pulling this away from an officer that that somehow justifies a white, large officer, body slamming 120-some pound, nine month pregnant woman, twisting her arm above her head and kneeling in her back."
Shaw said Stalling has received medical treatment for nerve issues due to the incident, but the baby appears to be unharmed.
A spokesperson for the KCPD said the police chief has no intentions to resign. The department has also refused to identify the involved officers, none of whom are facing disciplinary action for the incident.