Activists and civil rights leaders have accused a Missouri police officer of excessive force after he kneeled on a pregnant Black woman’s back during an arrest last week.
Deja Stallings, 25, was arrested on Sept. 30 on charges of interfering with police officers as they attempted to arrest a man outside of a Conoco gas station in Kansas City, Missouri. Officers initially responded to a 911 call made by a security guard who said a fight had broken out in the parking lot.
Police said Stallings was trying to prevent officers from arresting local activist Troy Robertson when she grabbed an officer and tried to pull Robertson away from the officers. She was taken into custody for physically interfering with an arrest.
Footage of the incident shared on social media has sparked calls for the officer involved to be fired, and for KCPD Chief Richard Smith to resign.
In the video, a white KCPD officer pushes his knee into Stallings’ back to pin the obviously pregnant woman against the ground. As the officer folds Stallings’ arms behind her back, people voice their concerns about the woman while another officer warns the witnesses to stand back.
“The most recent act of brutality of a pregnant woman, an unborn child, is yet another example of the culture of brutality, callousness and disregard for the citizens of our community,” said Kevin Woolfolk with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Rev. Rodney Williams, president of the Kansas City chapter of the NAACP, called the incident a “double assault.”
Stallings’ attorney, Stacy Shaw, said she is 9 months pregnant, and she went to a hospital after the arrest and has needed medical care on and off since then. She has been issued a municipal summons for hindering an arrest.
Protesters occupied City Hall for several days in response to the video of the arrest. They have demanded that 50 percent of the city’s police budget be redirected to social services aimed at the Black community.