SAN LEANDRO, Calif. — A California woman has filed a lawsuit against San Leandro and several of its police officers, alleging they stomped on her stomach – leaving behind a shoeprint – during a June 2019 traffic stop and caused a miscarriage.
Emerald Black’s May 25 lawsuit alleges the incident took place June 7 of last year, when her fiancé was pulled over for bad registration tags. The couple was returning home from Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, where Black had been examined and told she was at high risk of miscarriage.
“Ms. Black remained in the passenger seat while one of the officers spoke with her fiancé,” the lawsuit states. “Although yet-to-be-identified officers did not suspect her of any criminal wrongdoing and she was visibly pregnant and still in clothing from the hospital, officers commanded her to get out of the car.”
Black told the officers she had just come from the hospital and asked to remain in the car, the suit states. They refused.
“Yet-to-be-identified officers yanked Ms. Black from the car, stomped on her stomach, piled on top of her and arrested her. Furthermore, they refused to allow Ms. Black to put on shoes.
“No criminal charges were filed against her.”
Black had a miscarriage shortly after the incident, the lawsuit states.
Black's attorney, Patrick Buelna, told the Mercury News in San Jose that his client "had committed absolutely no crimes, nor was she even suspected of any."
"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, tore her from the car, piled on top of her and stomped on her stomach," Buelna said. "Ms. Black was devastated by the loss of her unborn child caused by the officers' senseless and grotesque behavior."
Read Emerald Black’s lawsuit below.
San Leandro city manager Eric Engelbart told the newspaper that the city was aware of the allegations, which he said are without merit.
"As a result, the city has denied a claim for damages and plans to vigorously defend the lawsuit," Engelbart said. "Given the pending litigation, the city is not able to offer additional statements regarding this matter at this time."
Black’s lawsuit was filed the same day that George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died while being restrained by police officers in Minneapolis. Floyd, 46, was accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a store.
Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin and three other officers were fired following Floyd’s death. Chauvin, who was seen in cellphone footage holding Floyd down with a knee on his neck, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd’s death has sparked protests against police brutality nationwide.