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Pregnant Woman Handcuffed by Police

6:11 PM, May 11, 2005   |    comments
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By Jackelyn Barnard JACKSONVILLE, FL -- 911 dispatchers answered the phone Sunday night, on the other end a young expectant mom. Melanie Williams, 24, and seven and a half months pregnant, was alone and driving on the road when she called for help. "I need some help. I'm pregnant and I'm bleeding. I'm about to faint." The call went dead, but Melanie called 911 again. "I'm pregnant. I'm bleeding. I'm traveling right now. I feel like I'm gonna fall out." The 911 dispatcher told her, "I need you to pull over." The call went dead again and the mom to be never pulled over. Police say that is not what the woman should have done. "You may pass out. You may be somewhat incoherent, put yourself and other public in danger," says Chief Wayne Clark. While 911 dispatchers told her to pull over, Melanie was still on the road. She'd pulled off Interstate 10 near St. Vincent's hospital. Police, who had no idea she'd called 911 or that she was in trouble, spotted her running red lights. Police pulled Melanie over just blocks from the hospital. While police were ticketing her, she took off for the emergency room and police pursued her. Barbara Pitts, who was sitting in the emergency room waiting room says it all happened within seconds. "A lady ran in first. A couple of seconds later two policemen came behind her and jumped her. They was trying to subdue her. So, once he had her down on the ground, his knees in her back trying to put handcuffs on her, she said help, just help me I'm bleeding and I'm pregnant." JSO says, "From what we know. From what the police officers knew, they did what they were trained to do," says Chief Clark. Melanie's family says the police treatment was too rough. The family also says Melanie has been in and out of labor since Sunday. "She's young and this is her first child. There's a lot of things she could have done differently, but there's also a lot of things the officers could have done better," says the woman's sister, Tihesha McGlashon. Melanie was arrested and charged with reckless driving, running two red lights, eluding police and resisting arrest. She was booked while she was in the hospital and has bonded out. She is still in the hospital in good condition. The family has hired an attorney and is considering filing a formal complaint with JSO because they feel Melanie William's civil rights were violated.

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