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'I felt they killed my baby': Eight-months pregnant black woman thrown to ground by officers breaks down in tears recalling how they 'treated her like an animal'

Body cam footage shows moment 8 months pregnant black woman is thrown to ground with her hands behind her back in front of daughter's school by 2 cops despite committing no crime Pregnant Charlena Cooks thrown to ground by officers breaks down in interview

  • Charlena Cooks of Barstow, California was eight months pregnant when she and an employee at her daughter's school got in a 'petty' argument 
  • The employee called police after the two women fought in the school parking lot, who said no charges could be filed
  • They then asked Cooks to give them her name, something they did not ask the employee, and grew agitated as she refused
  • Two officers then pulled her arms around her back and shoved her to the ground to cuff her
  • In a new interview she says of the incident; 'I was treated like an animal. Like a monster,' adding that she felt officers 'killed my baby' 
  • Charges against her were ultimately dropped, but the Barstow Police Department stands behind their actions 

The pregnant woman who was thrown to the ground by two police officers despite committing no crime is speaking out in a tearful interview. 

Charlena Michelle Cooks of Barstow, California says she was traumatized by the way she was perceived and addressed during the horrific incident.

'I was treated like an animal,' said Cooks.

'Like a monster.' 

She also revealed she was concerned about whether or not the baby she was carrying was still alive.

Scroll down for video

Devastated: Charlena Cooks broke down (above) as she described how she was treated by police

Devastated: Charlena Cooks broke down (above) as she described how she was treated by police

Incident: Cooks was eight months pregnant when she and an employee at her daughter's school got in a 'petty' argument

Incident: Cooks was eight months pregnant when she and an employee at her daughter's school got in a 'petty' argument

'He just looked at me and thought, "Oh she must be this way,"' said Cooks of the arresting officer in an interview with CNN.

'And I'm not that way. You make me feel that I'm a way that I'm not.'

Her attorney, Caree Harper, said; 'This is how it is every day for some of us in the black community.'

Cooks, clearly still shaken by the incident, sobbed as she said she was now more 'fearful' of police.

'They are capable of anything,' she said. 

'I'm really scared,' Cooks then said. 

'I'm trying to move out of Barstow now.'

And it was not just the emotional toll that was so difficult on the woman. 

'I was in unbelievable pain,' said Cooks. 

'I felt they killed my baby already.' 

Shocking moment officer slams pregnant woman to the ground
Caught on camera: Cooks ended up in the back of a squad car (above) after she was thrown to the ground and cuffed by police

Caught on camera: Cooks ended up in the back of a squad car (above) after she was thrown to the ground and cuffed by police

Body cam footage captured the shocking moment two police officers forced the pregnant woman to the ground while her hands were behind her back despite the fact that she did not commit a crime. 

She was dropping her second grade daughter off at school in January when a traffic incident led to an argument between her and a school employee in the parking lot, leading to the employee calling police.

Once police arrived on the scene however they said there were no charges that could be filed to the employee, and then went to speak with Cooks. 

Cooks told the officers that the entire incident had been blown out of proportion, and that the altercation was 'petty.'

Unlike with the employee, a white woman, the officer cuts off Cooks as she is telling her side of the story and demands identification, something he did not do with the other woman. 

He also says that Cooks has two minutes to give him her name. 

At this point, Cooks says she wants to see if she has to give the officer her name, and goes to call her boyfriend and ask. 

Less than 30 seconds pass before the officer, and another cop, grabs Cooks arms and start putting them behind her back. 

Cooks, still in the school parking lot, begins loudly screaming that she is pregnant and to let her go.

That is when she is thrown to the ground and cuffed by the men, who then demand she stand up and stop resisting arrest.

It is not illegal in California to withhold identification if an individual has not been charged with a crime.

Horrific moment: She can be heard screaming on the body cam the entire time that she is pregnant

Horrific moment: She can be heard screaming on the body cam the entire time that she is pregnant

Let go: Charges against her were ultimately dropped, but the Barstow Police Department stands behind their actions

Let go: Charges against her were ultimately dropped, but the Barstow Police Department stands behind their actions

'I don't think I've ever been that terrified in my life,' Cooks previously told the Desert Dispatch

'I never saw that coming. I told him I was pregnant so he could proceed with caution. That didn't happen and the first thing I thought was I didn't want to fall to the ground. I felt the pressure on my stomach from falling and I was calling for help. But those guys are supposed to help me. But who is supposed to help me when they are attacking me?' 

Cooks was then charged with resisting or obstructing a peace officer or other public safety official, a charge that was eventually dismissed.

Meanwhile, after the ACLU released video of the arrest, the Barstow Police Department defended their officers' actions.

'The Barstow Police Department continues to be proactive in training its officers to assess and handle interactions with emotionally charged individuals while conducting an investigation, for the protection of everyone involved,' they said in a statement.

An internal investigation has been launched. 

Cooks, who was eight months pregnant, went on to have her baby in March, Olive.

The baby was born healthy but it still being monitored by doctors. 

Now, she is looking to move away from where this all happened, and get on with her life.

'I'm still trying to process everything and get in a good state of mind,' she said. 

'I'm in a very fearful state of mind. Barstow is so small and I used to be comfortable living here. Not anymore. I really felt like after all that happened I had some of my everyday freedoms taken from me.' 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Charlena Cooks thrown to ground with hands behind her back in video

  • Charlena Cooks of Barstow, California was eight months pregnant when she and an employee at her daughter's school got in a 'petty' argument 
  • The employee called police after the two women fought in the school parking lot, who said no charges could be filed
  • They then asked Cooks to give them her name, something they did not ask the employee, and grew agitated as she refused
  • Two officers then pulled her arms around her back and shoved her to the ground to cuff her
  • She can be heard screaming on the body cam the entire time that she is pregnant
  • Charges against her were ultimately dropped, but the Barstow Police Department stands behind their actions 

Body cam footage captured the shocking moment two police officers forced  pregnant woman to the ground while her hands were behind her back despite the fact that she did not commit a crime. 

Charlena Cooks of Barstow, California was dropping her second grade daughter off at school in January when a traffic incident led to an argument between her and a school employee in the parking lot, leading to the employee calling police.

Once police arrived on the scene however they said there were no charges that could be filed to the employee, and then went to speak with Cooks.

Scroll down for video

Incident: Charlena Cooks of Barstow, California was eight months pregnant when she and an employee at her daughter's school got in a 'petty' argument

Incident: Charlena Cooks of Barstow, California was eight months pregnant when she and an employee at her daughter's school got in a 'petty' argument

Caught on camera: Cooks ended up in the back of a squad car (above) after she was thrown to the ground and cuffed by police

Caught on camera: Cooks ended up in the back of a squad car (above) after she was thrown to the ground and cuffed by police

Cooks told the officers that the entire incident had been blown out of proportion, and that the altercation was 'petty.'

Unlike with the employee, a white woman, the officer cuts off Cooks as she is telling her side of the story and demands identification, something he did not do with the other woman. 

He also says that Cooks has two minutes to give him her name. 

At this point, Cooks says she wants to see if she has to give the officer her name, and goes to call her boyfriend and ask. 

Less than 30 seconds pass before the officer, and another cop, grabs Cooks arms and start putting them behind her back. 

The woman, still in the school parking lot, begins loudly screaming that she is pregnant and to let her go.

That is when she is thrown to the ground and cuffed by the men, who then demand she stand up and stop resisting arrest.

It is not illegal in California to withhold identification if an individual has not been charged with a crime.

Moment officer slams pregnant woman to the ground
Horrific moment: She can be heard screaming on the body cam the entire time that she is pregnant

Horrific moment: She can be heard screaming on the body cam the entire time that she is pregnant

Let go: Charges against her were ultimately dropped, but the Barstow Police Department stands behind their actions

Let go: Charges against her were ultimately dropped, but the Barstow Police Department stands behind their actions

'I don't think I've ever been that terrified in my life,' Cooks told the Desert Dispatch

'I never saw that coming. I told him I was pregnant so he could proceed with caution. That didn't happen and the first thing I thought was I didn't want to fall to the ground. I felt the pressure on my stomach from falling and I was calling for help. But those guys are supposed to help me. But who is supposed to help me when they are attacking me?' 

Cooks was then charged with resisting or obstructing a peace officer or other public safety official, a charge that was eventually dismissed.

Meanwhile, after the ACLU released video of the arrest, the Barstow Police Department defended their officers' actions.

'The Barstow Police Department continues to be proactive in training its officers to assess and handle interactions with emotionally charged individuals while conducting an investigation, for the protection of everyone involved,' they said in a statement.

Cooks, who was eight months pregnant, went on to have her baby in March.

The baby was born healthy but it still being monitored by doctors. 

Now, she is looking to move away from where this all happened, and get on with her life.

'I'm still trying to process everything and get in a good state of mind,' she said. 

'I'm in a very fearful state of mind. Barstow is so small and I used to be comfortable living here. Not anymore. I really felt like after all that happened I had some of my everyday freedoms taken from me.' 

 

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Comment by Jerimiah 1:4--10 on June 2, 2015 at 1:01pm
We will survive All this hatred and brutality!
Comment by rashid rourk on June 1, 2015 at 5:42pm
I agree Mike K , him asking for the sister's name shows his bias. He knew no crime was committed, but he still felt the need to assist the Caucasian wonan as much as he could. She didn't have to provide any personal information since no crime was committed .
Comment by Jerimiah 1:4--10 on June 1, 2015 at 3:40pm
@Dexter, it's cool big brother your always on point anyway we will servive all this but it's just the beginning so be strong, the race is not given to the swift and the adversary is swift to do evil, watch the Karma as it will place the shoe on the other foot, it's very easy for those that live in a glass house to throw rocks at black people! We look helpless to the ignorant but let us be patient while we suffer the wrath of the haters, I will send you the scripture When God said when these devils realize that their time is short they shall come down on the people with great wrath and this is what we are witnessing this all over the USA, it looks very organized like a plan called order out of caos, they cause the caos so they can bring a totalitarian draconian order.
Comment by Mike k on June 1, 2015 at 2:16pm

@rashid, That is exactly what he is claiming. I don't know however that she is still obligated to providing him with any information if she is not being criminally charged with anything. They knew the car she drove. If he wanted to provide license plate information to the white lady and let her pursue the channels she needed to take it further  he could have done that. He has no obligation to assist in a citizens arrest. He has already conceded that he investigated both sides and saw no legal requirement for his involvement. He is  thereafter legally irrelevant to this matter.

Comment by rashid rourk on June 1, 2015 at 1:43pm
Thanks brother Mike K, I only watched it once and I wasn't sure if he said anything to that effect. Could that be the reason to ask for her name to give the Caucasian woman information to file charges?
Comment by Mike k on June 1, 2015 at 1:33pm

@rashid, I believe he said to her that there was nothing there for him to charge her for but she can file a complaint or attempt  a citizens arrest. 

Comment by rashid rourk on June 1, 2015 at 1:19pm
I have to listen to the audio again. Did anyone hear the cop say to the Caucasian woman something about making a citizens arrest or filing a complaint?
Comment by Dexter on June 1, 2015 at 12:39pm

Damn autocorrect, that was supposed to be TonyMJ not might.

Comment by Dexter on June 1, 2015 at 12:37pm

@Tony might, I feel you on the positive rap music of yesteryear compared to the b.s. today. Was just listening to "Brown skin woman" by krs one. The lyrics go "brown skin woman you're a queen & not a ho" I hope this woman sues & receives a nice settlement. This cop put the life of both the mother & unborn child in jeopardy & this woman is suffering mental anguish where she's now fearful of staying in this town for fear of retribution from the police.

Comment by Jerimiah 1:4--10 on June 1, 2015 at 6:51am
Good morning African Goddess, I feel the pain too, GOD is revealing the truth about everything to us and the truth is very painful my sister!

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