Protests Continue Over Arrest Of Pregnant Black Woman Kneed In Back By Officer/​cop Still On Duty


Kansas City, Missouri — A nine-months-preg­nant Black woman whose arrest by a Kansas City police offi­cer sparked out­rage and occu­pa­tion of City Hall grounds was so over­come with emo­tion Thursday that she was unable to address a ral­ly demand­ing police reform.
Deja Stallings end­ed up on the ground with an offi­cer’s knee in her back dur­ing the Sept. 30 arrest that was cap­tured on video. Civil rights orga­ni­za­tions and oth­ers have camped out at City Hall since and have vowed not to leave until the offi­cers involved and Police Chief Rick Smith are fired.
The pro­test­ers also want the city to redi­rect 50% of the police depart­men­t’s bud­get to social ser­vices sup­port­ing the Black com­mu­ni­ty. On Thursday, Stallings strug­gled to walk from the car to the steps of City Hall, where she was expect­ed to address the crowd. When her time to speak arrived, she man­aged to get out only a few words before she start­ed to cry and had to sit down.
Stallings’ lawyer, Stacy Shaw, read her state­ment, in which she described the phys­i­cal pain and a bruise she still has from the arrest.
“I cry every day because I am scared for my baby,” she said. “My baby girl has not even been born yet and she is a vic­tim of police bru­tal­i­ty. I am try­ing to stay strong but I know my baby is a fight­er. She needs to be the last child who is a vic­tim of the KCPD. She needs the demands of this occu­pa­tion to be met.”

Protesters hold signs out­side City Hall on October 8, 2020, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Shaw said doc­tors have checked the unborn baby, named Dsyre, and she appears to be healthy.
Stallings was issued a munic­i­pal cita­tion for hin­der­ing arrest after police said she inter­fered when they tried to arrest a man, and that she was put on the ground to be hand­cuffed because she resist­ed arrest.
Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jean Peters-Baker is review­ing the arrest. Police said in a state­ment Thursday that the offi­cers involved remain on duty.
“We are review­ing the inci­dent as well,” spokesman Sgt. Jacob Becchina said, adding that police are coop­er­at­ing with the pros­e­cu­tors’ investigation.
Civil rights groups have said for months that Smith should resign or be fired because his depart­ment is plagued by racism and does­n’t inves­ti­gate or respond to unnec­es­sary force or fatal shoot­ings of Black peo­ple by officers.
Smith has said repeat­ed­ly that he does­n’t intend to resign but oth­er­wise has made no state­ment since the arrest.
Mayor Quinton Lucas has said he does­n’t believe it’s fea­si­ble to reduce the police bud­get by 50%.
Shaw said the pro­test­ers are not swayed.
“We have stat­ed that we will occu­py the seat of gov­ern­ment, right here on this lawn, until our demands are met or we are forcibly and vio­lent­ly removed from the prop­er­ty,” Shaw said.
“And if we are vio­lent­ly removed, we’ll be back the next day,” she said. (Adapted)

City Councilmen Brandon Ellington and Eric Bunch spoke in sup­port of police reform and vowed to help the pro­test­ers achieve their goals. Bunch said he would push the coun­cil to take the nec­es­sary action to “com­plete­ly re-imag­ine what pub­lic safe­ty means.”
He said the police depart­men­t’s $272 mil­lion bud­get this year is more than the com­bined bud­gets of sev­er­al oth­er depart­ments, includ­ing parks, health, neigh­bor­hood ser­vices, indi­gent med­ical care, and hous­ing and home­less ser­vices. He not­ed that as the city con­tin­ues to steer more mon­ey to police, vio­lent crime and homi­cides keep increas­ing. “We lit­er­al­ly do not have the mon­ey to sup­port the vital health care and qual­i­ty of life issues pre­cise­ly because we have resigned our­selves to a real­i­ty in which law enforce­ment is the only tool to address these com­plex issues,” he said.