And now we have, in addition to the figurative miscarriages of justice connected to police violence against Occupy protesters, a literal miscarriage as well, as Jennifer Fox has just lost the fetus she was carrying, five days after being kicked and hit in the stomach by Seattle police:
“I was standing in the middle of the crowd when the police started moving in,” she says. “I was screaming, ‘I am pregnant, I am pregnant. Let me through. I am trying to get out.’” At that point, Fox continues, a Seattle police officer lifted his foot and it hit her in the stomach, and another officer pushed his bicycle into the crowd, again hitting Fox in the stomach. “Right before I turned, both cops lifted their pepper spray and sprayed me. My eyes puffed up and my eyes swelled shut,” she says.
Fox asked for medical attention—the now-famous photo by Josh Trujillo of her being carried to the ambulance is here (click to the second photo)—and was rushed to Harborview Medical Center, she says, where doctors performed an ultrasound and said that they “didn’t see anything wrong with the baby at the time.” Fox says she had also seen a physician at Harborview for prenatal care about five week before.
“Everything was going okay until yesterday, when I started getting sick, cramps started, and I felt like I was going to pass out,” Fox says.
A friend called for an ambulance near the community college campus. (Fox says she has been camping with Occupy Seattle since it first began in Westlake Park. She is homeless and says, “I don’t have a place. This is the place I call home.”) When she arrived at Harborview at 11:00 a.m., she says, a doctor told her that “there was no heartbeat” from the baby. “They diagnosed that I was having a miscarriage. They said the damage was from the kick and that the pepper spray got to it [the fetus], too.”
If she can get her doctors to say this in writing and on the record, there will be hell to pay for the Seattle Police Department.
Charles adds, 11/23: Dominic Holden, who originally reported this for The Stranger, has developed doubts about the veracity of Jennifer Fox’s claims. However, his reasons are thin: she has said she was either one, two, or three months pregnant. Uncertainty about how far advanced a pregnancy is is not too unusual. She hasn’t yet filed a complaint. Again, not necessarily unusual. Holden might be surprised to learn that women who lose a wanted pregnancy are grieving a death, and don’t necessarily respond well to having papers thrust at them with a demand that they prove their claim. If they are planning to file a complaint, they might even want to talk to an attorney. It’s hard to see any advantage to Fox for making up the story and carrying it to the lengths she has, including holding a service. Without medical evidence, she cannot prevail in a claim against the city.
But, ok: suppose she is just making this up. The fact remains that the police did not know whether she was pregnant or not when they started swinging sticks and spraying people with pepper spray. They behaved recklessly. When they are not facing any threat, as was the case in Portland, they should treat everyone as if they might be causing irreparable harm.
Charles adds, 12/31: I cannot find any evidence that Fox has substantiated her claim of a miscarriage. However, there is one indication that she wasn’t confabulating. A Seattle blogger said he saw a medical report supporting her claim. But this remains an unfinished story.
Charles adds, 11/13/12: As far as I can determine, there have been no further developments.