KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Video of Kansas City police detaining a pregnant woman has sparked cries for justice.
On Thursday, Kansas City police addressed the incident, which Capt. Dave Jackson said happened around 11 p.m. Wednesday night.
The video shows an officer who some believe has his knee on a pregnant woman’s back while she lies on her stomach as the officer tries to detain her. It was quickly shared to social media and viewed by thousands.
See the footage in the video player above.
Jackson said KCPD officers were dispatched to the area of 35th Street and Prospect after a security officer at a business called 911 for help. There were 10-20 people fighting on the business’ property, and the owner wanted everyone to leave, Jackson said.
Police said one man interfered in the investigation and refused to leave the property. When an officer attempted to arrest the man, people in the crowd physically prevented the officer from doing so, Jackson said.
The man took off running, tripped and again officers attempted to arrest him, according to Jackson.
That’s when the pregnant woman seen in the video and another man tried to pull the man being arrested away from police. Assisting officers stepped in to pull the woman and second man off.
Jackson said officers gave the woman and second man several warnings to leave but they continued to interfere.
At that time, an assisting officer tried to put the woman under arrest for hindering and interfering. The officer attempted to do this while standing, according to Jackson, but the woman continued to resist, so the officer brought her to the ground.
In the video, you can see the pregnant woman lying on her stomach briefly before being turned to her side. Jackson said after that, the officer moved the woman to a seated position.
But what many are outraged over is the officer’s knee.
Some who have viewed the video believe the officer’s knee was pressed against the woman’s back while she laid face-down on the ground. Jackson, however, said the officer said and the video shows his weight was on his foot.
“The officer who arrested the woman said he took care not to apply pressure with his legs,” Jackson said.
Medics took the woman to the hospital where she was evaluated and released. Jackson could not say if she was injured.
“We would take great care in order to avoid injury or to avoid exacerbating the situation,” Jackson said. “we understand the emotions of dealing with anybody from children or pregnant people or disabled people. We understand all that, but we also have to do our job.”
Jackson took questions from local news outlets Thursday, but did not respond to a group of activists who tried to ask questions outside police headquarters.
“Do you have answers for the public?” one woman shouted.
Attorney Stacy Shaw, who said she is representing the woman, said the woman was nine months pregnant.
“Why was it necessary to handcuff and to put a knee on a pregnant woman’s back when she is nine months pregnant?” Shaw said. “What sort of monster would do that?”
Jackson said it’s too early to tell if any of the officers involved did anything wrong, but KCPD will continue to investigate, looking at more video potentially available. If someone makes an official complaint, that will bring on another level of investigation.
Watch Jackson’s entire news conference in the video below.