A Mississippi police officer has been accused of tasing a pregnant woman multiple times despite the woman telling him she was with child.
According to the Miami Herald, Aviana White, 27, was a passenger in her brother’s car when a Pass Christian police officer pulled him over Monday morning for speeding. Her brother, Miles Spear, did not have a license.
The police officer claims he was trying to be “helpful” by asking for White’s information and suggesting she drive the car back. But he says White started acting irate and he was unsure of what would happen next, so he tased her to gain control of the situation.
However, White tells a different story. According to her, the reason the police officer got upset was that she refused to show him her ID, which she stressed by law she doesn’t have to. From there, White’s mother, Mary Spear, was called and arrived to the scene to retrieve the vehicle. Meanwhile, her children were told to stay in the car. At some point, both White and Spear got out of the car, to which her brother was arrested for disorderly conduct and put in the back of a patrol car. However, White walked away from the scene, saying that she did not have to stay in the car because she was not under arrest.
A witness, Alicia Burton, told the newspaper that White went to stand under a tree to make a call when the officer “got in her car, sped down to this girl, and the girl wasn’t going nowhere so it didn’t have to escalate the way it did. I feel it could have went totally different if (the officer) had handled it different.”
(Apparently, the call she was making was to the police to complain about the way the officer had treated her.)
According to Burton, the officer “charged” toward White, who cried out, “Wait! I’m pregnant!” The officer grabbed her, and White continued to resist, she begged him not to tase her because she was pregnant, with White’s mother and Burton both echoing her plea.
The officer ignored their screams and just “went to tasing that girl all over her body.”
Of course, Police Chief Tim Hendricks defended his officer’s behavior and says the use of force was “justifed.”
“She was very defiant with the officer, and that’s what led up to this,” Hendricks said. “The officer asked her repeatedly to stay in the car and she refused to do that.”
He added, “I think the charges are justified.”
White was taken to the hospital and released. Thankfully, she only suffered some bruising. Yet, she was later arrested for not checking back in with police on Tuesday and was handed down a felony charge of assaulting a police officer.
Hendricks told The Herald that there are four videotapes from the incident, two from patrol car cameras and two from body cameras, but he will not release them to the public because he doesn’t want to compromise the criminal case against White.
The officer in question is currently under investigation by an internal board for the incident.