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Video Shows California Police Tackling Pregnant Woman to the Ground During Arrest

The ACLU has released footage of Barstow cops arresting a woman who is eight months pregnant after she refused to identify herself.

by VICE News
May 29 2015, 2:29pm

Photo via Flickr

VICE News is closely watching policing in America. Check out the Officer Involved blog here.

Video footage taken from a California cop's body camera shows two officers aggressively tackling an eight-month pregnant black woman to the ground before arresting her. The officers claimed she had not identified herself, according to a statement by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California, which released the video last week.

In January, Barstow police officers were dispatched to an elementary school responding to a call that a woman was driving recklessly in the parking lot. After determining that a crime had not been committed, the cops spoke to the accused, Charlena Michelle Cooks.

Cooks refused to provide her name to the officers, which resulted in her arrest.

Cooks, who had just dropped her daughter off at school, tells the officers multiple times that she is pregnant, asking them not to touch her because of it. As the police move to cuff her they push her up against a fence and eventually tackle her and hold her face down on the ground. Cooks was initially charged with resisting arrest, but the charges were later dismissed in court.

According to the ACLU, state law allows individuals to decline to identify themselves without facing arrest, but the organization claims people are still jailed for not offering up their names. The group released the footage in announcing a settlement agreement reached with the city of Barstow over a case in which two brothers were arrested for refusing to provide their names. The ACLU said the footage of Cooks's arrest emerged just before the settlement agreement.

The earlier identification arrest in Barstow involved brothers Jesse and Robert Katz, who refused to provide their identifications to a cop after a man accused them of stealing from him at a local taco shop. While the man admitting to not having evidence of the theft, the officer arrested the brothers for obstructing a police officer when they declined to give up their identifications, according to the ACLU.

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charlena michelle cooks