A 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.
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.