A pregnant Black woman was reportedly thrown out of a Colorado Target store, surrounded by at least three police officers and searched when she insisted she be able to use a $1.50 coupon.
Jazzmin Downs, 25, is seen in now viral video footage crying and begging an officer searching her Friday outside the Briarwood Circle Target in Aurora to “stop squishing’ her stomach.
The area is about 20 miles southeast of Denver.
“Stop. Oh my God, I’m pregnant,” Downs told the officer searching her. “I’m 4 months pregnant. Stop squishing my stomach.”
One of the officers on the scene seemed to try to explain, to which Downs responded: “OK why would he be squishing my stomach like that?”
The answer couldn’t be heard on the video, but soon afterward Downs can be seen telling herself to “calm down.”
“I’m scared,” she cried out.
“Don’t be scared,” someone on the scene said. “Just do what they ask you to do.”
It’s unclear who gave Downs the directive, but the video showed several onlookers watching.
“I’ve done nothing wrong,” Downs cried out at one point.
After the encounter, she told NBC affiliate KUSA-TV just 20 minutes before the search she had asked for a manager when a Target clerk refused to let her use her coupon.
She was told to leave the store, and when she demanded to know why, the manager called security and the Aurora Police Department, the news station reported.
Downs, whom a Target spokesperson described as “angry and aggressive,” eventually left the store to call Target’s corporate office, KUSA reported.
She told the news station she was outside for several minutes before a police officer showed up, joking with her about needing coupons because dog food was expensive.
He then went inside to talk to employees and showed up with four more officers several minutes later, KUSA reported.
Downs told the news station she had a Target corporate contact on the phone, her purse under one arm and her other hand in her jeans when the officers came back out.
Downs said she was using her hand to hold her jeans up because she unzipped them to be more comfortable, but when one officer noticed her hand in her pocket, things quickly escalated as one cop yelled at her to remove her hand from her pocket — a command she complied with by taking out her hand and the pocket lining to show it was empty — and then yelling they would have to search her for a gun.
“I was never a threat,” Downs said. “There was never any concern of me having a gun, but you see my hand in my pocket, and you yelled gun, and you guys rushed me.”
Later in the video one cop can be heard saying, “You’re making me nervous when you reach inside your pocket like that.”
Downs told KUSA she just wants to know why officers “did what they did.”
“They violated me as a human. They violated me as a mother. They violated me as a pregnant woman,” she said. “They violated me just in general for no reason and they had no explanation but ‘we were in fear of you or you made me nervous.’”