Protesters in Kansas City, Missouri, said they would continue to occupy City Hall grounds over the inhumane manner a black pregnant woman, Deja Stallings, was arrested until the police officer involved is fired. The protesters are also demanding the resignation of the Kansas City Police Department Chief over the alleged racism going on under watch.
On September 30, Stallings, 25, was tackled to the ground by an officer who subsequently placed his knee on her back for about 16 seconds before she was lifted and taken away. She was accused of obstructing arrest. After footage of the incident emerged on the media, it sparked outrage among residents who took to the City Hall and vowed never to leave until their demands were acceded to.
The protesters are also calling for 50% of the department’s budget to be redirected to services and campaigns that support the black community.
On Thursday, during a press conference organized at a rally demanding police reforms, Stallings broke down and could not continue with her speech due to the rush of emotion. Her lawyer, Stacy Shaw, had to continue reading on her behalf.
Earlier, Stallings was seen struggling to walk from her car to the scene of the press conference where she was expected to address the crowd. Stacy Shaw read the statement on behalf of her client, in which she described the physical pain she had had to endure from the dehumanizing arrest. Stalling said she cried every day because she was scared for her baby.
“My baby girl has not even been born yet, and she is a victim of police brutality,” her statement reads. “I am trying to stay strong, but I know my baby is a fighter. She needs to be the last child who is a victim of the KCPD. She needs the demands of this occupation to be met.”
She said her baby, named Dsyre, has been evaluated by doctors, and she appears to be healthy.
The KCPD issued a statement saying Stallings was issued a municipal citation for hindering arrest. The incident happened during the memorial of a recent murder victim, which soon turned into a confrontation between the police and people gathered at the venue. According to the statement, officers were trying to restore normalcy in the crowd and make an arrest when Stallings began to interfere and hinder their efforts. Stallings was immediately restrained by cuffs, turned on her side, and placed in an upright position before she was taken away.
Responding to the statement by the police, Stacy said “common sense and basic humanity” should have prevented the officer from treating Stallings the way and manner she was treated, considering her pregnant state. There is no justification for his actions, she said.
Meanwhile, the KCPD has refused to identify the officer at the center of the saga, saying that there’s no evidence that a crime was committed and that the said officer is going about his lawful duties.