Police officers and jailers must hear a lot of excuses. But, some excuses should make them take notice. For example, a pregnant woman who claims to be bleeding and on the way to the hospital should not be ignored.
A woman whose premature baby died the day after she was arrested has sued the Kansas City Police Department and two officers who repeatedly ignored her pleas for medical help while they were arresting her.
A police videotape released Tuesday shows Sofia Salva telling police officers numerous times on Feb. 5, 2006, that she was pregnant, bleeding and needed to go to a hospital.
After the ninth request, a female officer asked: “How is that my problem?”
Salva, a Sudanese native, was held overnight on traffic violations and outstanding city warrants. After being released the next morning, she delivered a premature baby boy who died after one minute, according to a lawsuit Salva filed Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court.
Salva sued officers Melody Spencer and Kevin Schnell and the Police Department for wrongful death, personal injuries and failure to provide medical assistance. Salva is seeking actual damages exceeding $25,000 and punitive damages to punish and deter such conduct in the future.
No tapes were available of Salva’s time in the jail, but she contends in the lawsuit that her continued pleas for help were ignored. The next morning, jailers let her go to a hospital after she passed a large blood clot. Salva delivered a premature baby boy, who lived for one minute.
These officers and jailers fall about midway between callous and stupid. Not a good place for law enforcement to be.