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City of San Laredo, Police Department Hit with Lawsuit Alleging Police Brutality After Woman Suffered Miscarriage

— May 31, 2020

The San Laredo police department was recently hit with a lawsuit over claims some of its officers caused Emerald Black’s miscarriage back in 2019.

The city of San Laredo and its police department were recently hit with a lawsuit over claims that officers stomped on a pregnant woman’s stomach, “causing her to miscarry during a traffic stop last year.” The woman, Emerald Black, was traveling as a passenger in her fiance’s car when he was pulled over on June 7, 2019, for expired registration tags. At the time, they were on their way home from a pregnancy exam, “where Black learned she was at high-risk for a miscarriage.” In fact, Black was still dressed in hospital clothes when the stop occurred, and she immediately told the officers she was pregnant.

Gavel with law books; image by wp paarz, via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, no changes.
Gavel with law books; image by wp paarz, via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, no changes.

While initially Black was told to remain in the car while the officers talked to her fiancé outside, they “returned for her just moments later.According to the lawsuit, the officers “taunted her, piled on top of her, and stomped on her stomach leaving a shoe mark, which resulted in a miscarriage.” As if the trauma of losing her child wasn’t enough, Black claims she “suffered other physical injuries, embarrassment, humiliation, and emotional stress.” Additionally, the suit argues “that police violated Black’s Fourth Amendment, which prohibits excessive force and unlawful seizure.”

In a statement issued earlier this month, Blacks lawyer, Patrick Buelna, noted that Black, who is an African-American woman, “had committed absolutely no crimes, nor was she even suspected of any.” He added:

“Ms. Black, a pregnant African-American female, was torn from the car even after informing officers that she was pregnant and had just left the hospital. Ms. Black simply asked to remain in the car because she was pregnant and had just left the hospital earlier that day and learned she was at risk for a miscarriage. If officers were adamant about her exiting the car, they should have simply, and gently, assisted Ms. Black getting out of the car. Instead, they treated her like she had just committed a violent felony…Ms. Black was devastated by the loss of her unborn child caused by the officers’ senseless and grotesque behavior.”

City Manager Eric Engelbart pushed back against the claims, though, and said the allegations are “without merit.” He added:

“As a result, the City has denied a claim for damages and plans to vigorously defend the lawsuit. Given the pending litigation, the City is not able to offer additional statements regarding this matter at this time.”

At the moment Black is seeking general and punitive damages for loss of wages and income as well as medical expenses. 


A Pregnant Black Woman Miscarried After California Police Allegedly ‘Stomped’ on Her Stomach

California woman claims police officers ‘stomped on her stomach,’ caused miscarriage in new lawsuit

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