Pregnant sistah sues police after loosing baby


The video is sickening, have you ever heard of this happening to a white woman?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 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. “The officers went into this with a preconceived idea of who and what they were dealing with, and they were wrong,” said Salva’s attorney, Andrew Protzman.

“It’s tragic.” The videotape was released to the media after The Kansas City Star requested it under Missouri’s open records law. Police have opened an internal investigation to determine exactly what happened, department spokesman Capt. Rich Lockhart said. “It’s a matter of trust. … We want to make sure the community trusts us to get to the bottom of this regardless of the way it reflects on the police department,” Lockhart said.

The officers stopped Salva after they saw her affixing a fake temporary tag on the back windshield of her car. After the officers tell her why she was arrested, Salva is seen telling the officers she is having a miscarriage and is bleeding. “Do you want to check me?” Salva asks on the tape. “I’m bleeding. I have a 3-month baby inside.”

Schnell, who has worked for the department for less than two years, walks away from the car and tells his partner: “She just gave me a line of excuses. She said she’s bleeding. She said you can check her.” Salva said: “I’m three months pregnant and I’m bleeding.” Spencer, a four-year veteran, replied: “OK. Why are you driving to the store and then putting a fake temporary tag in your car?” “I took it because I want to go to the hospital,” Salva said.

The officers made Salva sit on the curb as they searched her car, purse and grocery sacks. Salva again tells the officers that she is bleeding and asks them to check her underwear and says she wants to go to the hospital. “Well,” Spencer said, “that will be something you can take care of when we get done with you.” After a drawn-out process to get Salva’s identifying information, Salva is clearly upset. “I have a baby in my stomach and I’m bleeding and I open my underwear for you to see.” “Stay seated!” Schnell yelled. “If I die here, will you take care of me?” Salva said. “If I die here?” “Fair enough,” Schnell said.

Officers are then told Salva has outstanding city warrants for mistreatment of children, trespassing and several traffic violations, with bonds totaling $4,600. After Salva is handcuffed, she again tells Schnell she is bleeding. “I don’t doubt that you’re possibly bleeding, but you got a lot more problems with us,” Schnell said.

13 thoughts on “Pregnant sistah sues police after loosing baby

  1. rikyrah

    Of course this never happens to White women. Why ask such a question. It’s unreal the abuse the PO-LICE inflict upon our community. Hope she has a good lawyer.

    PS-Can you do a memorial for Molly Ivins? She passed away today. She was one of my journalism heroines.

  2. Rikyrah,

    This apparently happens to sistah’s only. I have been searching in vain for an incident in which the police caused a pregnant white woman to lose a baby. I found an article on one sistah who was tasered for refusing to sign a speeding ticket in Seattle in front of her child’s school. She was going at the breakneck, dangerous speed of 32 in a 20. 50,000 watts of electricity multiple times to a pregnant woman. One of the officers was Hispanic. He called a supervisor to ask permission.

  3. terrence mcginnis

    I hope Kansas city gets sued for at least 100,000,000 in punitive damages. I hear about police abuses all the time. Many of them seem to see the world in black and white terms. Perps and vics, good guys and bad guys,etc. As soon as these cops identified her as a “perp”, anything she said was interpreted as a criminal trying to complicate her arrest with lies. There are plenty of decent cops out there who have maintaned their humanity,- who try to enforce the law without prejudice and also have enough brain power to sort things out in a reasonable way. There are also plenty of the other kind too, who are’nt too bright, and have not developed enough humanity to begin with, who are trusted to carry out a complicated job that involves a lot of very human issues with lots of grey in between the black and white. Many are not up to the task at all, and in fact are just as crooked and malicious as any of the people they arrest. Any city that lets the porcine element remain in their police dept. deserves to be hit very hard in the courts financially as a wake up call. The cops that are trying to do a good job end up paying the price in many ways and so does the community overall when they are as afraid of the police as they are of the criminals. The tightest leash in any mayor’s hand should be on the chief of police, and any chief of police who doesn’t likewise control his or her dept. should loose their job. POLICE ABUSE MUST STOP!!!

  4. Sheldon Taylor

    Brace yourselves for the inevitable. These (puported) police officers will not suffer any consequences. They will tout the fact that they were doing their jobs and that will be that. I have often wondered about the fact that police officers are not required to have a college degree but lawyers are? You would think that logic would dictate that a police officer should have more intensive training than a 26 week curriculum especially since we as the tax paying public are giving them the right to bear a firearm and discern the law and the varied complexities of dealing with people from all races and social strata. You cannot tell me that their response was not racially dictated. It is an outrage and a shame if this is not honestly and dealt with. These two police officers should be fired and the city of Kansas needs to pay up big!

  5. Edward Johnson

    A bleeding animal on the side road would have been given more compassion than this docile cooperative black woman. How could this ignorant and insensitive officer have the audacity to ask the woman when told of her plight that “how was that her problem?” That statement alone speaks volumes! Someone please correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t a police officer sworn to uphold the law and safety of our communities mandated to assist and protect its citizens? She didn’t even want to touch the woman! Their actions at the very least constitute a serious dereliction of duty and they should immediately be fired! I won’t even address the whole racial component because I hate pointing out the obvious.

  6. The way this case was handled was racially-motivated, I think. AND I don’t think Black police officers would have been any different. Many of them have now become splitting images of their white counterparts. I hope KC pays out of the wazoo behind this foolishness. But you all know they will spin her other legal issues into ammo against her. I hope this woman has the best attorney to represent her.

    A lot of Sudanese have been placed in the Midwest due to strife in their own country. But the Sudanese catch hell in the Midwest. There have been problems with police in Minneapolis, St. Louis, and now Kansas City. They are getting a good ol’ healthy dose of American racism.

  7. yogo

    Not only will the officers not be punished, but just you wait till the black conservatives start going off on her about her marital status, other children, job status, education, and of course the fact that she had those outstanding warrants.

  8. Why bring up race at all? I just learned the victim was black and still yesterday sent an email to the police chief requesting the police officers be fired. It didn’t even occur to me to check out the race of the victim. I’m tired of black people whining about race. The issue has to do with the 2 police officers in question mistreating the victim and hence she loses her baby which is horrendous. End of story.

  9. anonymous


    Fact of the matter is [although its already been pointed out] if this woman was not of color she would have recieved proper treatment and medical care. Race, my friend, is the MAJOR issue because we all know that if this woman was white there wouldn’t even be a situation such as this.

  10. deneice millare

    what goes around comes a round. it might just happen to there kids. by a white/black officer. but the main facts im mad at is this police women who is a women her self. said and did the most thats what up sets me. they could have just put her in the police unit and took her to the hospital. but if it was me i would have took my close off in front of them. oh but they would have shot me. where is the justice in a child losing his life because a bitch trying to act like a man. this is for the partner of schnell.

  11. whitesistah

    You know what. I am a white sistah and I got falsely arrested because the police mistook highlighted medical information for a warrant. I had no warrant. They treated me roughly, and I too was bleeding and had medical problems. Call it what it is – the police are not only racially ignorant, but disablity and medically ignorant too. It happens to disabled white people – it happened to me.

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