Rochester police attack pregnant womanA video of what appears to be a brutal attack of a pregnant woman by a Rochester, N.Y. police officer surfaced on the web this week, and people are rightly outraged.

The video, captured Tuesday evening by a neighbor, shows 21-year-old Brenda Hardaway pleading with officers as they try to restrain her.

As Hardaway repeatedly yells, “I’m pregnant! Get off me! You’re going to kill my baby,” Officer Lucas Krull punches her in the head and throws her to the ground.

Alternet.org gives more details about the altercation:

Police claim that the woman was arrested because she threatened to use a can of pepper spray on the police after intervening in the arrest of another person. In the video, her 16-year-old brother can be seen sitting on the steps, hands cuffed, telling the officers that his sister simply can’t have her hands cuffed behind her back because she is pregnant, and falling forward could cause harm to the baby.

While the video appears to show a vicious encounter, Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard told reporters his officers showed “tremendous restraint.”

“While the video may cause concern relative to the officer’s tactics, I stress that it is important that the incident be viewed in its totality and to withhold judgment until all the facts are known, including those parts of the event that are not shown on the video,” he said.

(Trigger warning: the video may be difficult to watch.)

Hardaway was taken to Rochester General Hospital where she was treated for injuries to her elbow and nose. She was arrested and charged with assault and resisting arrest, and is being held in Monroe County Jail on $7,500 bail.

Hardaway’s brother was released after being charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Rochester Police Chief Sheppard says officers’ actions are under review.

  • Stephen

    Commenter “Guess”:
    Your perspective on “the cycle of punishment” indicates that you spend virtually every hour of your life as the smartest person in the room (and I pity you, friend, because it is often lonely in that space). You already agree with me, though you didn’t spell it out, that prison rape — or any kind of anarchic injury to a prisoner, whether inflicted by fellow prisoners or by officers of the state — is not only illegal in the superficial statutory sense but also forbidden by our Constitution’s “due process of law” principles, which are more precise than the 8th Amendment “cruel and unusual” principle. In short, we can allow cops or corrections officers or fellow prisoners to crack skulls (or body orifices) all they want, but we have to write it in the statute — and touche’, lets see if majorities have the audacity to try it (and then we would see what passes muster with SCOTUS). Meanwhile, a prison sentence of, say, “2 to 4 years” means just that much time in the cage, and nothing more, and therefore every prison rape or other injury is a lawsuit against We The People even if, as you already suggested, Guess, the arrested/imprisoned person is the worst ess-oh-bee on the planet.

    The quandry for police as “first responders” is that they find themselves in a chaotic situation with hazards yet undefined, perhaps back-up has not yet arrived, etc., and these cops are carrying lethal weapons in hand or in holster — therefore, cops can’t fool around with persons who want to wrestle or otherwise resist arrest. In the present case, evident in the video, the city of Rochester is going to write a big check to the woman who was supposedly pregnant. There was no reason to punch her and take her down to the ground, so roughly and suddenly — there were already plenty of police on scene to guarantee that the cops in contact with arrestees would not lose the wrestle and be disarmed, etc.

    P.S., Can you guess my philosophical orientation, how I vote, how I feel about “race” matters, etc.? As the smartest person in the room (or tied for first), you’ve already surmised that, by the presence and form of my questions, the answer(s) must be somehow counterintuitive or counter-normative. Have fun.

  • SpecialK

    I don’t give a damn about rules and that crap simply because people who are NOT in law enforcement arent privy to that information. And honestly, the rules tend to change depending on who the hell you ask anyway. I don’t like nor appreciate the treatment of that woman and feel that it was extremely excessive. She was yelling “Im pregnant! Get off me!” This is crazy. They have no compassion. And word on the block is this officer has been PROMOTED to add insult to injury. I guess he was taking care of the ‘black issue’ that the neighborhood is plagued with. Horrible.

    NOW, with that being said, I also feel that the neighbors and family members weren’t helping the situation either. They were yelling things out at the officer that weren’t appropriate nor warranted. That behavior will give the critics a reason to say that the pregnant woman deserved it. smfh This is truly upsetting.

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