WATCH: California Cops Throw Pregnant Woman to the Ground

Shocking body camera footage shows two Barstow, California, police officers taking a terrified pregnant woman to the ground, onto her stomach, after they claim she resisted arrest.

The incident occurred in January, and the woman, Charlena Cooks, gave birth to a healthy daughter in March. The video was released by the American Civil Liberties Union of California (watch it above, the interaction with Cooks begins at about the 3:28 mark).

The city has stood by the officer, saying the video shows it is “apparent” that Cooks “actively resisted arrest.”

According to the Desert Dispatch, police responded to a local school after Cooks and a school employee got into an argument after the eight-months pregnant Cooks dropped off her second-grader. Cooks told the newspaper it was a “petty” altercation.

“I don’t even think that that disagreement in the parking lot was enough to warrant a call to the police,” she told the newspaper.

The video shows the arriving officers talking to the school employee, a white woman, who does not get asked for her ID and allows her to tell her side of the story. Cooks says the officers weren’t interested in hearing her side and demanded her ID.

Charlena Cooks talks on the phone before being taken down by Barstow police. (YouTube)

Charlena Cooks talks on the phone before being taken down by Barstow police. (YouTube)

Cooks says she wants to call someone to ask if she has to identify herself. As she talks on the phone, the officer moves forward and grabs her, and then throws her to the ground along with the other officer, while Cooks screams that she is pregnant. The officer asks her why she is resisting arrest if she is pregnant.

“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?”

Charlene Cooks being held on the ground by the two officers. (Screenshot)

Charlene Cooks being held on the ground by the two officers. (Screenshot)[/caption

THE ACLU said it is a “wrongful arrest” for officers to arrest you for not showing your ID in California. Cooks was charged with resisting arrest, but the charges were dismissed by a judge.

“Even if an officer is conducting an investigation, in California, unlike some other states, he can’t just require a person to provide ID for no reason,” said Adrienna Wong, a staff attorney for the ACLU. “Officers in California should not be using the obstruction law, Penal Code 148, to arrest someone for failing to provide ID, when they can’t find any other reason to arrest them.”

The ACLU questioned whether race played a role in the treatment of Cooks.

“Imagine getting wrestled to the ground and handcuffed in front of your child’s elementary school,” ACLU staff attorney Jessica Price said. “Imagine interacting with other parents afterwards. Imagine what kids who saw the incident tell your child. And if you think the whole incident happened because of your race, how does that impact your view of police?”

[caption id="attachment_946320" align="alignnone" width="780"]

Cooks being questioned by police after the takedown. (Screenshot)
Cooks being questioned by police after the takedown. (Screenshot)

The video was released by the ACLU while it also announced a $30,000 settlement between the city and two brothers who were arrested for refusing to identify themselves to officers.

“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,” the city said in a statement to the Desert Dispatch. “”This incident was in no way racially motivated, as implied by the ACLU. Barstow is a racially diverse community, as is our Police Department, and we affirm our Police Department’s commitment to protect and serve all of our residents.”




Racially motivated completely, never asks the white woman for her name?? Totally disrespected the black woman who,the officer determined was guilty without listening to her side……bullshit Police department claims the officer was correct. The USA policing system is fcuked up!!


Wow! What a country. I find it hilarious that the US judge other nations for violation of human rights when their police are allowed to slam a pregnant woman to the ground because she wouldn’t identify herself. You really aren’t that different from Russia are you!


I don’t know where you are from, but you are clearly delusional if you think this even remotely resembles Russia. All the police wanted to know was her name, she is the one that escalated the situation. The ACLU and media blow things like this out of proportion, and people like you blindly latch onto the story. Police aren’t the bad guys, if you believe that, don’t call one if you need help.


The very fact that you would defend an incoherent, inarticulate thug (which is exactly what that cop sounded like) is the reason they are getting away with such appalling behaviour. If you think that the police have the right to throw a pregnant woman on the ground and cuff her because she does not want to give her name (and as it happens does not even have to under California law) tells me that you are an unthinking and unreflective person. Your dismissal of the ACLU suggests you have the intellectual capacity of the usual pitchfork carrying lynch mob that typifies so many ‘officers’ of your police force.


Let us see your papers NOW !!! Sounds like Germany in the late 1930s.


It’s NOT far from it for SOME people abused by the police. Why didn’t the police ask the white for HER name while talking to her? No, as ususal when it comes to Blacks, the police were on a “fishing” trip(Hoping they have a warrent or something they can USE against them). The police are the ENFORCERS of white supremacy and THAT is why YOU revere them…Until they come for YOU.


When you call the police they ask for your name, number, and location….so the officer already had her information. I do believe “some” police officers abuse their power, but for the most part they are like you and me…..imagine if you had to deal with a situation where two people have different stories about an incident. You would attempt to gather all information to put in your report and move on with your life, except in this case one person was being aggressive and not cooperating. We as people need to stop looking at situations in terms of color and look at the facts; which is the officer clearly states that he’s just going to gather information for the report and that he saw no evidence of a crime.


He said that to the white lady, but he never explains that to the black lady.

Reginald Flowers

She didn’t HAVE to give her name…. The police didn’t ask the white woman for her name, did he? So it’s ok if police slam a woman that is 8 months pregnant on her stomach if she doesn’t give her id to him… You’re full of it


The “white woman” called the police- they already have her name. The pregnant woman could have called the police if she felt threatened by the “white woman”


really why they didn’t ask the first lady her name at least she told him her name, he said it wasn’t good enough


You are exactly right. ‘Merika is turning into a Police State. These pig cops show up dressed for war and then call everyone else ‘terrorists’. Many of them are control freaks and bullies.
They just start yelling ‘STOP RESISTING! STOP RESISTING!’ at people and then start beating the hell out of them. Or, they’ll just go ahead and shoot them (usually the unarmed), if the mood strikes them. They’ve been murdering unarmed people left and right lately.
Worse yet, not only are they put on paid.vacation, er, I mean ‘leave’, but they usually get promotions when they return.
This country has gone to hell in a hand basket.
You’re right; the U.S. has no business sticking her nose in other countries’ business. We are no better than anyone else. Unfortunately, the opinions of the little people like me don’t mean squat. The U.S. Government is a terrorist organization and does what it pleases, including the militarization of our police.


Unfortunately the same is happening in the U.K. in the name of so-called anti-terrorism.


You have to admit that the UK has much more of a terrorism threat than the US but with all the muslims Obumer is forcing on us we are headed into the same problem. At least we have the right to shoot back something the UK lost long ago.


Wow not only are you a bigot you are also ignorant. I’m a 4th generation American (who doesn’t excuse my European ancestors for invading America and displacing and killing the indigenous Americans) and I decided as an adult to BECOME a Muslim. Obama didn’t force my Islam on YOU!! Speak for yourself… There is no “us” because America is not in solitary of your ignorant bigoted views!! I pray for people who are like you are too arrogant to learn the facts and differences between Muslims and terrorists. By the way terrorist threats in America are far from being predominantly Muslims.


Thanks for your concern but us Brits are far happier without lots of guns on our streets, there is no clamour from the public to be armed and we’re proud of that our general police force don’t carry guns.

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