Police strike pregnant woman eating evidence varUsername = "email@example.com";document.write("TOM ALEX");
January 23, 2007
Des Moines police this morning used a striking instrument and pepper spray on a woman they later learned was pregnant in an effort to stop her from eating what they believed was marijuana.
Barbara Brown, 20, of Des Moines, was taken to Broadlawns Medical Center to be treated for what police believed was marijuana consumption.
Police said they were trying to preserve evidence, but Brown managed to chew and swallow all of it.
She was charged with public consumption. The charge refers to the beer she allegedly was drinking, not the marijuana police believe she had eaten.
Brown also was charged with resisting officers, interference with official acts and obstructing prosecution.
Police Officer Charles Tomlinson was driving down an alley between Ninth and 10th streets south of Jefferson Avenue when he noticed a woman holding a 40-ounce bottle of beer. She poured it out as he approached, the officer said in a report.
"I noticed she would not take her left hand out of her coat sleeve," he said. He asked her what she was hiding.
She refused to show him, Tomlinson said, so he asked her to put her hands behind her back.
"As I grabbed her left hand she pulled away from me and shouted, 'It's just my weed'," the officer reported. Brown is alleged to have put her sleeve up
to her mouth and started eating the substance.
As the officer attempted to get her hand and the marijuana Brown went to the ground in the snow.
Officer Tomlinson said in the report that she buried her face in the snow, covered up her head with her hands, and started chewing.
The officer's report says: "I then gave Brown a knee strike to the right side of her body in an attempt to get her hands behind her. Telling Brown to stop resisting. Again Brown did not comply. I gave one more knee strike without success. I then told Brown I was going to spray her with pepper spray if she didn't give me her hands. When Brown did not respond I got my pepper spray as close to her face as I could..."
Apparently because her face was in the snow it had little effect. Officer Tomlinson said she continued chewing.
"At that point I told dispatch to have the responding units step it up to help me get the marijuana before it was completely gone," he said in the report. "I then grabbed my asp (striking instrument) and gave Brown another chance to give me her hands and to stop eating the marijuana. When she did not, I gave her several -- three or four -- strikes with my asp to the back of Brown's upper right leg between the back of her knee and hip."
At that point other officers arrived. One of the officers gave her another shot of pepper spray. By the time she was in custody the alleged marijuana was gone.
At the hospital, police said, Brown told nurses she was pregnant