A young woman claims police made her suffer a miscarriage when she was held on the ground by officers after she was racially abused on a train.
Andrea Appleton, 24, was pinned to the ground by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officers at Embarcadero Station in San Francisco on July 29 this year.
She was with her 22-year-old boyfriend, Michael Smith, when they were allegedly harassed by a white man on the train.
The unidentified harasser repeatedly told Appleton and Smith – who are both black – they smelled, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The young couple got off the train at Embarcadero, but they were met by police after a passenger falsely reported Smith was armed and trying to rob people.
Video of the altercation was published by the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office on Wednesday.
It shows the moment Appleton was taken to the ground and had a knee placed in her back by an officer.
The 24-year-old, who was in her first trimester at the time of the incident and was traveling to doctor’s appointment with her boyfriend, was heard immediately telling the cop holding her down that she was pregnant.
She went on to tell the Chronicle she struggled with depression after the miscarriage, which came two weeks after the arrest.
She now hopes that no one has to go through the pain she did.
‘It’s not right,’ she told the newspaper.
‘It’s not fair to me or my boyfriend to lose our child and to have to go through this.’
In a statement, BART said it ‘was not clear or known that the woman was pregnant’ when she was taken to the ground.
Smith, who had been charged with four counts of battery on a police officer stemming from the incident, was found not guilty last week, according to San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.
The jury – which did not have a single black person on it – ruled in favor of the 22-year-old.
Jeff Adachi, who represented Smith, said on Wednesday he hopes the release of the footage sparks further discussion about potential racial issues in the police force.
‘We often talk about policy and the use of force, but this is an actual case where you can see how the system failed Michael Smith and Andrea Appleton,’ Adachi said, according to the Chronicle.
We’re here not to only look at one criminal case but how we can improve BART policy so this does not happen again in the future.’
He went on to say the jury believed too much force was used on Smith.
‘Jurors agreed that BART police officers used too much force and jumped to conclusions about Michael,’ he said.
‘They felt the situation could have been resolved without that level of violence.
‘Michael had no idea why he was being stopped, or why officers had swept his legs out from under him and pinned him to the platform.’
Audio of the 9/11 call made to police that led to the incident with Smith and Appleton was also released on Wednesday. In it, a man was heard saying he had an altercation with ‘two African Americans’, claiming one tried to rob him and potentially had a gun.
It is against BART policy to handcuff a pregnant woman behind her back, according to San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.