A woman who filed a lawsuit against the city of San Leandro claiming its police officers caused her to have a miscarriage during a traffic stop in June 2019, appears to be false, according to body-camera video released by the city on Wednesday.
A federal civil rights lawsuit filed on May 25 by Emerald Black described San Leandro police officers stomping on her stomach, causing her to have a miscarriage. The complaint added that Black had been released from the hospital earlier in the day and had been deemed high-risk for a miscarriage. She was also wearing “hospital clothing” during the incident.
However, the body-camera video tells a different story.
After alarming police officers by saying, “I’ve got something for you, bro” and appearing to reach toward the floor of the front passenger’s seat, Black told police that she had a miscarriage earlier in the day.
When police detained Black, she appeared to momentarily resist before falling to the ground. Because the incident occurred at night, it is inconclusive from the video whether police officers kicked Black while attempting to handcuff her. Black’s lawsuit claimed the alleged kick left a shoe mark on her stomach.
In addition, Black did not appear to be wearing hospital garb during the arrest, although, she references wearing hospital socks in the video.
The traffic stop was precipitated by a call from a local retailer who said someone had broken into a locked display cooler stocked with alcohol. But the items, however, were not stolen because the individual had placed money on the register counter, according to police.
Police later pulled over the vehicle that included Black and suspected the driver of being under the influence of alcohol.
The filing of the lawsuit by Black last month arrived at a time when national outrage over the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police was beginning to gain steam. It followed a high-profile shooting death of Steven Taylor by San Leandro Police last April at a local Walmart store. In recent weeks, San Leandro City Council meetings have featured a large number of public speakers who have registered anger over the Taylor shooting and have called for accountability for the officer’s actions.
Last week, the city issued a statement that also signaled it was preparing to release body-camera video from the Black incident. “We take these claims very seriously. We recognize that the allegations are troubling and appreciate the high level of community concern they have generated. We also express sadness and condolences to Ms. Black for her and her family’s loss,” the city wrote in a statement.
Further stoking concerns among city officials was traction the headline of a pregnant black woman being “stomped” on by police officers and resulting in a miscarriage had gained in the national and international media. An online petition calling for an investigation of San Leandro Police had been signed by 2.4 million people.