Saturday, February 03, 2007

Miscarriage of Justice

These stories have been covered elsewhere, but they bear repeating, to as many people who will listen.

Woman Raped, Taken to Jail, Denied Emergency Contraception
In Tampa, FL, a woman was raped, called 911, and was taken to the hopsital for an examination. According to this story, "When they [police] started checking the victim's background, they discovered she had an arrest warrant out for her." The story does not indicate whether it is standard practice to check the crime victim's record. The woman was apparently not aware of the warrant (from when she was a juvenile), and her attorney says it was a paperwork error. The just raped woman was taken to jail in handcuffs and denied bond. Although the hospital had prescribed emergency contraception, the jail's medical supervisor would not allow her to take it, "because she said it was against her, the supervisor's, religion." Thus, the woman's rights were violated at least twice (3 times, if she was wrongfully jailed). The jail is disputing the story, claiming essentially a procedural error, although I'm hesitant to accept that what amounts to the jail not following its own procedures and so hindering lawful medical care constitues a "good" excuse. The police department, on the other hand, has taken corrective action by apologizing to the woman for the arrest and instituting a policy to allow more discretion in postponing arrests of crime victims who are wanted on traffice, misdemeanor, or felony property crime charges.

Pregnant Woman Arrested, Denied Medical Attention, Miscarries
A Kansas City, Missouri woman who was 3-4 months pregnant was arrested for traffic violations (including a fake temporary license tag) and outstanding city warrants. She told officers that she was pregnant and bleeding, having a miscarriage, and needed to go to the hospital. Police ignored her requents, took her to jail, and according to a lawsuit she has filed, "jailers allegedly ignored Salva’s pleas for assistance until she passed “a large bloody mass” and was finally released to go to Truman Medical Center, where her baby was born five months prematurely. He died." A video from the police cruiser has now been released of the woman's arrest. She repeatedly tells officers (one of whom is a woman) she is pregnant and bleeding, and has taken the car to go to the hospital, while police continue to question her about the car. From a news story on the video:
"Sofia Salva told officers nine times during the first five minutes of the stop that she was bleeding or wanted to go to a hospital. After the ninth request, a female officer asked: “How is that my problem?”

Salva requested help at least 12 more times during the 30-minute encounter nearly a year ago.

"You can go to the hospital when we're done with you."

Salva again told Spencer to “look down” to see the blood. “It’s called a menstrual cycle,” Spencer [one of the officers] said.

“If I die here, will you take care of me?” Salva said. “If I die here?” “Fair enough,” Schnell [another officer] said.

“I don’t doubt that you’re possibly bleeding, but you got a lot more problems with us,” Schnell said.

When the arrest van arrived to take Salva to jail at 11:11 p.m., she again said to Schnell: “I’m bleeding.” “When we take you to the station, we’ll be able to report all that.”
Disturbing video of KC officers’ treatment of pregnant woman
Appalling incident can't be excused
Police incident prompts review
Officers suspended in case of woman who miscarried - This incident happened on 2/5/06, and the officers have just now been suspended, only after the video was released?

The embedded video below includes subtitles so you can understand some of what the woman is saying, and is set to a rather appropriate NWA song. For an unenhanced version and partial transcript, see the "disturbing video" link above.

PS - I want to clarify that I think the NWA song choice was appropriate for this incident. I've met some great police officers. I've also been involved in a car wreck wherein the other driver was drunk, drinking while driving, and the officers knew the driver so let him leave the scene to sober up. The police officers you see in the video? Decidedly in the "not good" category.

Technorati Tags: ; ; ; ; ;
MeSH Tags: Abortion, Spontaneous; Contraception, Postcoital; Human Rights Abuses; Police; Reproductive Rights;


Blogger Kathy T. said...

All of this truly turns my stomach. Un-freakin'-believable.

5:39 PM  

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