Pepper spray seems to be the weapon of choice at the Occupy protests across the United States. Recent photos--like the one of the “pepper spray cop” who let loose on students peacefully protesting at UC Davis, and another which shows an 84-year-old woman who was sprayed at Occupy Seattle--have made people question how the police are handling the demonstrations. But the story of pregnant protester Jennifer Fox is garnering the most attention lately.
The 19-year-old woman is claiming that, after being kicked and pepper sprayed by cops at an Occupy Seattle encampment, she suffered a miscarriage. "I was standing in the middle of the crowd when the police started moving in," she told The Stranger. "I was screaming, 'I am pregnant, I am pregnant. Let me through. I am trying to get out.'"
Fox, who says she was three months pregnant at the time, said that she was then hit in the stomach twice. She alleges that one Seattle police officer lifted his foot and hit her in the stomach, while another officer pushed his bicycle into the crowd, hitting her again."Right before I turned, both cops lifted their pepper spray and sprayed me,” she said. “My eyes puffed up and my eyes swelled shut.” The video below was taken after she was sprayed, right before she was taken to the hospital.
When she arrived at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, she was told her baby was fine, but a few days later, Fox began to feel sick and was brought back to the medical center. She was told she had suffered a miscarriage and that “the damage was from the kick and that the pepper spray got to it [the fetus], too.”
Many, though, are questioning Fox’s story, asking why the pregnant woman was at the protest to begin with. In an interview with The Stranger she said, "I was worried about it, but I didn't know it would be this bad. I didn't know that a cop would murder a baby that's not born yet...I am trying to get lawyers." Fox also says she was homeless until she started living in the Occupy encampment at Seattle Central Community College.
Dominic Holden, a reporter from The Stranger, has asked Fox several times to give him her medical reports to show that the police are to blame for her miscarriage, but as of yesterday, he still hadn’t seen hard evidence. Holden plans to post the results on the paper’s site once he receives them, but admits that he's questioning her story.
The Seattle Police Department has released a statement saying:
We are aware of a claim that a pregnant woman who attended the November 15 Occupy Seattle march has been treated for miscarriage. We are also aware that she has attributed the miscarriage to the use of pepper spray and physical contact by Seattle police officers. No formal complaint has been made. Consistent with standard procedure, the Office of Professional Accountability, or OPA, has initiated an internal investigation to look into the matter further.
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