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‘I Want Answers As to Why You’re Shooting at Innocent People’: Pregnant Woman Cops Shot with Pepper Balls In Her Stomach Gets $325K Settlement

The city of Denver is set to pay over a quarter million dollars to a woman who was pregnant in 2020 when police blasted her with pepper spray.

Brittany King and her boyfriend, Shaiitarrio Brown, were mistaken for protesters during the summer 2020 demonstrations while working as food delivery service people when officers assaulted them. King was 19 weeks pregnant at the time.

On Jan. 9, the Denver City Council approved a $325,000 settlement for Brown and King for the lawsuit filed in 2021. The couple sued the Denver Police Department for shooting pepper balls at their car, according to The Denver Post.

Couple hit with pepper balls
Brittany King and her boyfriend, Shaiitarrio Brown, were mistaken for protesters during the summer 2020 demonstrations while working as food delivery service people when officers assaulted them. (Photo: YouTube screenshot/HappeningJustNow)

According to FOX 31, the complaint included photographic evidence of the couple’s injuries and alleged the officers “repeated shots to her stomach.”

In the lawsuit, their attorneys allege the DPD’s use of pepper balls was “extreme and uncontrolled,” violating the couple’s First Amendment rights during the protests.

Brown alleges in the lawsuit in the early morning of May 30, 2020, the couple stopped their car at an intersection when the patrolling cops shot at them. Brown states he then exited his vehicle to tell the officer that King was pregnant. In response to his getting out of his car, the officers sprayed him with more of the small pellets, filled with chemicals designed to compromise the victims’ skin, nose and eyes.

The complaints state Brown was hit in his face, while King was struck directly in her stomach. The balls came through the car window to injure the then-mother-to-be.

A bystander captured the incident on video, footage that shows there were no protesters around the couple when they were assaulted.

The over three-hour footage captures less than two minutes of the police showering the couple’s car, even as the boyfriend clearly states his partner is pregnant.

“I want answers as to why you’re shooting at innocent people who are not protesting, and there’s a pregnant woman in the car,” Brown said. He also noted not only did the officers shoot at them in an unprovoked attack, but when he tried to approach to find out why they were firing at them, a different group of police started to bombard them with a different direction of attack.

“Those officers could’ve killed my child, and we want some repercussions of that, and we want change and reform in policies,” he said.

The couple was living out of their car and using it as a means to make money. At the time of the incident, they were delivering food for DoorDash, a popular restaurant-to-customer service. But with the saturation of the pepper spray, the couple could no longer stay in the vehicle. It was inhabitable, the lawsuit states.

“We were finding pepper balls in the car for months after the incident,” King said to The Washington Post.

This was coupled with the various injuries the two sustained. Brown had bruising and several lacerations over his face and body. The pepper spray left chemical burns and bruises on King. She also suffered a broken right hand. Moreover, King’s pregnancy was also impacted by the onslaught of chemicals — which led to complications in her pregnancy.

According to the lawsuit, King was “hospitalized twice for pregnancy complications, including severe cramping, elevated and then depressed fetal heart rate, chemical burns on her throat and lungs, and extreme dehydration from pain during eating and drinking due to the burns. In other words, the chemical burns hurt too much for her to swallow water.”

King said the hospital tests found chemicals from the pepper balls in her bloodstream. Her throat was burned so badly that it was hard for her to swallow or eat for months after the altercation.

“When I was pregnant, it was just hoping,” King said. “I was just waiting for birth. To see her that first time, to make sure she’s okay.”

Now their child, who today is a toddler, has shown signs of “pronounced developmental delays” since she was born, including not being able to crawl at the age of nine months. Nine months, according to many experts, is when certain motor skills should be activated. Those milestones include crawling, pulling up to stand, standing up and beginning to take steps while holding onto furniture.

Brown and King believe the settlement did not afford them closure to the horrific and damaging incident.

“We got money out of it,” he said. “But we’ve still got no accountability, so there’s no closure for us at the end of the day.”

Neither the city of Denver nor the Denver Police Department has given a statement on the settlement. However, an internal investigation of the incident conducted by Denver’s Office of the Independent Monitor ruled there was “no policy violation” based on available evidence.

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