In January, Charlena Michelle Cooks cried out "I'm pregnant" and was wrestled to the ground by a police officer in Bartsow, Calif., following a dispute with a woman outside a school. The mother is still haunted by the incident and fears for her life, she shared in an interview with CNN.
Cooks says she felt "like an animal, like a monster, like I didn't exist, like I was not human."
The American Civil Liberties Union released the video of Cooks, who was eight months pregnant at the time when police handcuffed her. In the clip, an unidentified white woman can be seen telling an officer that Cooks had damaged her car window and was driving too fast, prompting her to call the authorities. The officer then told the woman that he didn't "see a crime that has been committed."
Cooks is then approached by the officer, who asks her side of the story. Cooks said she was dropping her second-grader off at school and then got into an argument with the other woman. Cooks said she felt threatened by her. The officer then asked Cooks for her name. Cooks refused to give her full name, and the officers apprehended her. According to California law, she did not have to tell the police the information because she had not committed any crime.
But will Cooks get justice?
The Barstow police department began investigating the incident five days after the ACLU put the video up and accused cops of using too much force on Cooks.
"The ACLU has long advocated restricting the use of restraints on pregnant women. It's a terrible idea to handcuff a pregnant woman behind her back. This video shows why," the group wrote, according to CNN.
The city of Barstow recently reached a settlement with the ACLU in a similar case of two brothers, Jesse and Robert Katz, who were asked to identify themselves after being accused of stealing by a store owner with no evidence of the crime in January 2014.
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