• Tue, Jul 29 - 1:01 pm ET

NYPD – Placing A Pregnant Woman In A Choke Hold Is Not Okay

rosan-miller-facebookI got some flak for posting about a police officer who shot a dog in a Chicago neighborhood yesterday, mostly along the lines of how not all police are bad and people who break the law should be punished, two sentiments I would never disagree with. On the other hand, I don’t believe that any profession is exempt from scrutiny, even the most noble ones. Especially the most noble ones. Sorry, but also, not very sorry.

That’s why I’m following that post up with this one, because the New York City police officer who allegedly placed a seven-month-old pregnant woman in a chokehold for illegally grilling outside of her apartment deserves to be put on blast.

I say allegedly with an eyebrow raised because there are pictures of the incident, which you can see over at New York Daily News.

Rosan Miller, 27, alegedly assaulted an officer when he tried to arrest Miller’s husband, Moses, for refusing to give the officer his ID after being accused of grilling on the sidewalk outside of their apartment. She allegedly slapped him in an attempt to keep the arrest from taking place.

What Rosan Miller did was against the law, and she was facing arrest too, which she resisted. That’s when the officer attempted to place the seven month pregnant woman in a chokehold.

Chokeholds are prohibited within the NYPD and have come under scrutiny again following the death of Eric Garner, in an unrelated incident.

I am sure that many people will say, with righteous indignation, that this woman and her husband broke the law, first by grilling and then by resisting. That’s true.

Again, however, I am left wondering why this wasn’t handled differently? Is a pregnant woman so difficult to restrain? At seven months all you had to do was blow on my forehead and I’d fall over. And to be completely honest, if someone tried to put me in a hold when I was pregnant, I’d probably flip out too and slap at them wildly out of sheer panic. It wouldn’t matter if they was Officer Friendly or the Pope himself.

If you break the law, you should be punished. I do believe that. I also believe that the punishment should fit the crime, and that it’s the responsibility of the people who enforce the law to know how to do that without injuring or killing someone if their life is not in immediate danger. On top of that, I don’t think the people who collect their salaries from the tax contributions of all members of society should be so precious as to refer to the people they arrest with the n-word, or any other slurs, as one of the arresting officers in this case allegedly did.

I don’t say that because I have a secret anti-cop agenda. I say that because I want people to give cops a little more credit. I’ve befriended a few officers of the law in my lifetime, and they were all highly trained, highly ethical individuals. Can we stop pretending as though cops as a whole are infallible because they have no other choice, when a citizen gets belligerent or rowdy or resistant, than to choke them or pull out a gun?

That’s really insulting to the ones that do their job ethically and seriously.

Can we also, for one moment, remember that this whole thing started over a man grilling? Do you think that would have been anything more than a warning in a higher-income neighborhood? I’m not endorsing a violent reaction, but I’m not surprised either.

When you disproportionately make one group of people the subject of increasingly violent arrests and handle them with all of the care of a dirty dishrag, do you really expect them to trust you and treat you with deference, even as you’re hurling slurs at them?

I’ll end with the sentiment of Charles Barron, former NYC councilman, who also weighed in on the incident:

“‘I don’t care what anyone says, there is a powder keg in this town’ the fiery ex-pol said, suggesting those ‘harassed’ by police may begin to react violently. ‘Don’t blame me, the social forecaster, when there is an explosion in this town.’”

(Image: Facebook)

You can reach this post's author, Theresa Edwards, on twitter.
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  • Lilly

    the NYPD is already being flagged for unnecessary choke holds, this is them basically doubling down on the stupidity

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/24/eric-garner-funeral-calls-nypd-chokehold-prosecution

  • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

    Being in a “noble” profession doesn’t put you above the realm of common decency.

    We have had many, many examples that I can think of over the past year that showed police abusing their power. Here’s a short list that I can think of:

    *A young man filmed a checkpoint, the police were agitated, and they made their drug dog give a false hit on the car using a training technique
    *A man in New Mexico (?) was subjected to multiple anal cavity searches even after less invasive screenings showed no drugs in his body (simply because the officer observed him “clenching” his buttocks–which I would probably do too if I were afraid of getting arrested or ticketed)
    * Police in Atlanta threw a flashbang grenade into the crib of a two year old

    There are more, but I’ll cut it short to make a final point. In each of these cases, there were people screaming to just leave the police alone, they have a difficult job to do. And they do. But having a difficult job doesn’t give them the right to run roughshod over our rights as citizens. We should expect better of them, and I personally do.

    • Rachel Sea

      *Police in Oakland who shot an unarmed teenager because he almost fit the description of a robbery suspect (he wasn’t in his 20s or wearing a hoodie, but he was black).
      *Officer in Baton Rouge orders a drunk man to move his friend’s broken car, and then fires on him when he bumped into the patrol car. The man was killed and an uninvolved passerby across the street was hit in the arm.
      *Michigan cop is caught on his dash cam saying that he didn’t like dogs and so was just going to shoot the dog against whom he was about to respond for a noise complaint. Then he and his partner did, 15 times.
      *Agents at a border crossing into Alaska from Canada drew their guns on a boy scout troop and detained them for 4 hours after a scout took their picture.

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      My boyfriend’s cousin is a police officer and at their grandma’s funeral, he told me this charming little story about how his unit had just been issued new guns…and he was curious about how it would feel, so he unloaded his clip into a pit bull that was just wandering around some neighborhood. I seriously have no words.

    • Gangle

      and did he go on to become a serial killer? Killing something just to see what it would feel like is pretty messed up…

    • Dreiko

      Did you miss something? She already said he was a cop. Why bargain down? Puny serial killers have authorities to evade and murders to cover up. A cop just sprinkles some coke on you and he’s done.

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      It’s worse than that…he was just killing the dog to see HOW HIS NEW GUN WOULD FEEL.

    • Gangle

      Sick…

    • guest

      I hope you found out where he worked and filed an anonymous (for your safety) complaint about this. Not that they could prove it but jesus someone needs to know.

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      No one would care. I don’t think it’s even illegal to kill a dog.

    • Amber Leigh Wood

      …you guys are scaring me into never wanting to come to America, ill just stay here in Australia

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      Far too many examples. I should have added one from a nearby city.

      An off duty sheriff’s deputy, who had been drinking, detained a woman, forcibly, in handcuffs, simply because she rejected him. He also threw her down onto a table, breaking it.

    • noodlestein’s danger tits

      Absolutely agree. I just got into it a couple of weeks ago with a cop who pulled me over for flipping him the bird (he was in an unmarked car, obvi) when he almost ran me off the road. We had words, and when I challenged him on his actions, it was clear from his attitude that he felt entirely entitled to do whatever he wanted, including threatening me with arrest for “resisiting a police officer,” which was nonsense, as I had done nothing of the sort, nor broken any laws to even justify being detained. I finally had to pull the old ‘am I free to go’ routine on him so that he’d let me go. Too many cops have let the powers that they have been granted for protection and enforcement go to their heads, and abuse is rampant. Yes, I know. #notallcops, but far too many, and in far too powerful a position. Knowing your rights is the only defense we have right now, and too many people are unaware, and thus, unarmed.

    • Boozy Shark Lee

      I got pulled over and blocked in by 4 different cop cars when I was 19 for going 3 miles UNDER the speed limit in a neighborhood. They searched my car and eventually let me go but I was pissed!

    • noodlestein’s danger tits

      Yeah, I would have been pissed, too! That’s nonsense.

    • Véronique the Attachment Shark

      A police officer who was NOT on a call tried to cut my boyfriend off in order to pass us from the right at the intersection (she put herself in the right lane, and tried to accelerate when the light turned green in order to pass us). When my boyfriend accelerated in order to prevent the cop from passing him illegally (it’s illegal to pass someone in an intersection), the cop put her lights on, and then at the next intersection tried to intimidate my boyfriend. When he asked her whether she was allowed to break the driving code when not on a call, she got a huge attitude and threatened to pull us over. By the time I thought of taking her car number down, the light had turned green and we needed to proceed and they were too far down, but I would totally have filed a complaint against her.

    • noodlestein’s danger tits

      Too much power, not enough oversight, not enough people know their rights. It’s sad and enraging all at the same time.

    • Cray

      When I was a child – maybe 7 or so – my mom was pulled over for doing a U-Turn in a business district. Except that she didn’t U-Turn, she pulled into a driveway, backed out, and then turned around. Apparently she didn’t pull in the regulation 36 inches or whatever. So this policeman – Officer Anderson, actually – pulls her over. When she started to argue with his U-Turn assessment he said “MA’AM RIGHT NOW YOU ARE UNDER ARREST” – scaring the crap out of both of us. Apparently when you’ve been pulled over you’re technically considered “under arrest.”
      He continued to be intimidating to this Volvo driving 40something woman and her young child, while he wrote her ticket.
      My mom complained and apparently he had a history of intimidating people, and we were told that officers have a QUOTA of tickets they are meant to write every month and he was trying to reach his quota. How cray is that. Anyway, I was afraid of the police for years after that.

      Another time, I had a friend over and we were drinking in my parents’ house (I had just returned from living in Italy and didn’t have an apartment yet). He’d had too much so decided to sleep it off in his car (drunken decision that it was better than the guest room). For whatever reason, the police drove by, saw him in his car, and tried to get him to move on – despite being clearly not legal to drive. He refused, so they made him call me to identify that I knew him. I slept through the call, so they decided they were concerned for my safety and BROKE IN to my house. They called my parents the next day (I was over 21, so no idea why they did that) and told them that I had been drugged and was wandering around my house which was why they broke in and put me to bed. The whole thing freaked me out massively because I had absolutely not been drugged, there’s 100% no way I was wandering around my house; and of course the break in meant that the patio doors were left open all night – ready for intruders.

      Oh yeah, and then there was the time when the police officer pulled my skirt down to see a tattoo which was slightly showing above the band. That’s not inappropriate at all.

      So yeah, not a lot of trust here.

    • noodlestein’s danger tits

      No kidding! That’s rough.

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      And so many people don’t even want to know…that’s what kills me. It’s like they rely on the cops to protect them (which you could argue based on legal precedent like Castle Rock v Gonzales and Warren v District of Columbia they aren’t even required to do) that they are willing to excuse the flagrant violation of rights.

    • noodlestein’s danger tits

      Too right. I think there will always be people who are willing to exchange freedom for percieved safety, but I will never be one of them. I find that tendency both sad, and foolish.

  • ActionComics25

    The way we are training/recruiting police officers has to change. If the trade off for stories like this disappearing is paying officers more and then investing more in their training (plus completely revamping it) I’m all for it.

    I’m also going to leave this here. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/6/24/swat-aclu-militarization.html

  • Elyne

    Doing something illegal is wrong but choke hold a pregnant women is even worse. This example makes me glad i live in Belgium, granted we have our problems with the police too now and then. But at least they usually don’t try to randomly try to kill citizens or assault pregnant women.

    • guest

      It’s not like this all over the US, though. You’re generalizing.

    • Heather

      Yes it is. Reference an above post where Wicked Prophet lists criminal acts performed by police officers and Rachel Sea continues the list. And those are just the ones that have made the news.

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      Yeah, I have to agree. In my experience, cops are incredibly kind, helpful and WAY too lenient…but then I have to remind myself that this is my reality because I’m a privileged white girl.

    • guest

      No it’s not. In suburban neighborhood and whiter areas, crime isn’t as bad.

  • https://twitter.com/perfctlyflawd1 JenH1986

    I’m 100% ok with them being arrested and for the charges to stand. I’m not ok with a chokehold, I’m especially not ok with a chokehold in a city that has supposedly prohibited it by NYPD. Police officers are highly trained, they are in fact human, and make mistakes. We recently had a huge issue with Tyler Brockman in a local area who shot and killed a 19 year old girl. But mistakes doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t face consequences for those mistakes.

    • mikoda

      Physically harming a woman with a deadly defensive move isn’t a mistake.

    • https://twitter.com/perfctlyflawd1 JenH1986

      No but panicking under pressure is.

    • mikoda

      Well the man is definitely a wimp to panic after a woman hits him.

  • guest

    Why would a man put a pregnant women, or ANY woman in a chokehold?! What is our society turning into? That poor woman :(

  • Woof©

    Slapping a police officer doesn’t seem to be the brightest thing to do. Choking a pregnant woman either.

  • jen27

    Pretty sure the headline should just read “Don’t Put People into Chokeholds”. It’s against NYPD regulations, not that the NYPD has ever given a shit about doing the right thing or following rules.

  • liveandlovefree

    Pregnant or not man or woman, its not ok for a trained professional to detain anybody this way.

  • http://facebook.com/guineverew Guinevere

    I find this to be “cruel and unusual,” to borrow a phrase…

  • Heather

    I agree with the statements in this article, but there are some SERIOUS proofreading issues going on!

    • http://facebook.com/guineverew Guinevere

      *are*

  • CrazyFor Kate

    Chokeholds are not okay for ANYONE. I’m extra sensitive about this stuff lately, because it just happened to me on a trip to Oslo. I bought some groceries and a random dude outside of the store started talking to me in Norwegian. I walked away and he grabbed me by the neck and dragged me into the store. Turns out he was a security guard (no uniform) and thought I was shoplifting, which the store immediately debunked. Honestly? I would go so far as to say it was traumatizing. I felt panicky and sick until I left Norway, and still feel frightened going into stores. The effects of such an incident are way higher than I think most people in authority realize, or care.

    • itpainsme2say

      Im so sorry that happened to you, what even was his reason for thinking you were stealing?

    • CrazyFor Kate

      Apparently he asked me (in Norwegian) to see my receipt. Since I had no idea what he was saying and one of the first rules of traveling solo is Don’t Talk To Strange Men Who Approach You, I walked away. Oh, and he blamed it on me, of course.

    • http://www.swordcrossrocket.com swordcrossrocket

      I’d agree. I had one put on me for judo class, and i wound up dropping the class rather than putting one on anyone, even a training partner in practice. A real chokehold isn’t like the playacting in the media; i was tapping in three seconds and shaken after it. It’s a horrible feeling, and that’s why I’m a little skeptical about the video. You get one of those put on you, and you aren’t arguing with the cop after.

  • Rodiansinger

    I think the issue here is really just that the officer put ANYONE in a chokehold. If chokeholds have been outlawed within the NYPD then you shouldn’t use them on anyone period regardless of gender, race or age. There are other ways to deal with someone who is resisting arrest.

  • Warren Pacholzuk

    Wait a minute…..she is pregnant and is stupid enough to resist arrest, and it is the cop’s fault for the choke hold? Give your heads a shake. You resist and the gloves are off.
    She is the absolute moron in the wrong, not the cop.

    • Rodiansinger

      I agree that she is most definitely in the wrong here for violently resisting arrest but the fact remains that the choke-hold is outlawed for a reason. There are other ways to apprehend a violent person. Stun-guns for instance were specifically designed to completely incapacitate without permanently damaging. If I were in the officers position I would have stunned the woman.

    • Guy C

      You would have run the risk of causing a late term miscarriage then. Tasers were not designed with pregnant women in mind.

    • Rodiansinger

      She should have thought of that before assaulting a police officer.

    • Warren Pacholzuk

      I would think a chokehold is a great deal better than being taken to the ground face first, with the cop on top. Baby would be dead. Taser, baby dead.
      This stupid woman got lucky.

    • guest

      No, no, but according to the author all they needed to do was blow on her head and she would stop slapping the cop. (sarcasm) As if all pregnant women are just meek beings and the equvalent of a toddler trying to smack you. If I smacked a cop I’d fully expect to get body slammed into the ground with my arm twisted behind me while I was arrested. You. don’t. do. that. Maybe that is why I haven’t had any issues with the law? If chokeholds aren’t allowed for that police dept then that would be one thing but quite frankly, by the description someone gave below it doesn’t even sound like a chokehold as much as he was restraining a pissed off woman.

  • http://www.swordcrossrocket.com swordcrossrocket

    Uh, the video linked in the article doesn’t show a chokehold at all. He puts an arm around her neck, but there’s no force and she’s just held briefly until he shifts his arm around hers. She seems none the worse for wear after, and contact to her neck is five seconds or less.

    It looks more like he was restraining her than anything, and he never drew the arm tight around her neck, resting the hand on her shoulder. The officer lets her go after, and she is still on her feet and able to talk to him; no gasping for breath or anything.

  • guest

    Being a cop is one of those jobs, like working in customer service, that I’d really like people to have to work in for a year of their life to fully comprehend. I have a distinct feeling people wouldn’t be so gracious if they were the ones having to deal with non compliant assholes who throw a fit and start hitting them over a simple request. They then subdue the person and are told they weren’t gentle enough with the person who struck them. Give me a break.
    I’m not saying all cops are amazing… I read the dog shooting story and as with any job there are some crazies who do not belong there. Some people may have started off fine in the job but the stress has brought out some mental issues. This article reads though like a “I’m not saying I hate cops, I know some, but I effing hate cops” kind of piece. Irritating.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    …since when is grilling illegal?!