Police Use Stun Gun On Pregnant Woman In Dispute Over Ticket
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UPDATED 06/06/12 – 4:11 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police and the Independent Police Review Authority are investigating, after an officer used a stun gun on a pregnant woman, after she tore up a parking ticket during an argument with police in the Roseland neighborhood.
Police confirmed there was an incident at 103rd Street and Michigan Avenue, in the parking lot of a Walgreens, around 8:25 p.m. Tuesday. They said two adults were arrested, and police used a stun gun on a woman during the incident.
But the woman, 30-year-old Tiffany Rent, said police had no cause to use a stun gun on her, and that police were verbally abusive after shocking her.
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At eight months pregnant, Rent said she was still in pain as she left South Misdemeanor Court, behind the Area South police headquarters, at 727 E. 111th St.
Her sister, Sharita Rent, said Tiffany was trying to console her young daughter when she pulled into the handicapped space in the Walgreens parking lot, but that police pounced the minute she pulled in.
“She pulled up in a handicapped space. The police came behind her, and she said they blocked her in. She asked them, were they writing her a ticket, and they told her yes,” Sharita Rent said. “She tried to explain to them what happened, as far as her little getting out of the car, and her trying to calm her down and console her, and the guy gave her a ticket for $200. She ripped the ticket up, tore it in half, and threw it on the ground.”
CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports Tiffany Rent admitted a police officer gave her a ticket for parking in the handicapped spot, and she tore it up, but she insisted that what came next was not justified.
“I got scared, and closed the door. I didn’t hit him. I didn’t mean to harm him, or anything. He Tasered me through the window,” she said.
She was taken to Roseland Hospital, where she claims other officers mocked her.
“They were laughing. They said … I know she’s pregnant. Then one of the other officers said I deserve it. Another officer said, ‘Go get Jesse Jackson,’” she said. “They were all laughing, like it was so funny.”
The police report alleges Rent cursed the officer and threw the shredded ticket in his face, then tried to drive off, despite the officer’s warning that she not move.
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy would only say the incident is being investigated, but did describe why an officer – theoretically – might have used a stun gun.
“First of all, you can’t always tell if somebody’s pregnant. You want to use it where you’re overcoming an assault, or preventing escape,” he said.
He added, “That policy has been in effect for quite some time. Whether or not the policy has been adhered to is going to be examined separately from the investigation into the use of force.”
Tiffany Rent was ticketed for illegally parking in a handicapped spot and charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest and simple assault. Also arrested was Joseph Hobbs, Rent’s boyfriend and the father of the child, who scuffled with officers. He was also charged with resisting arrest and simple assault.
Rent was taken to Roseland Community Hospital, and it appeared that the baby was unharmed, police told the Tribune. But Rent has lost three babies in the past, her family told the Chicago Tribune.
Rent’s mother said she can’t believe her daughter deserved to be stunned.
“She’s a nice, caring, giving person. Yeah, she’s real sweet. She’s real sweet. That’s what I don’t understand why they would do that to her,” Tonie Rent said.
McCarthy said the Independent Police Review Authority is investigating Rent’s complaint of excessive force. As part of that investigation, the IPRA is looking at surveillance video from the Walgreen’s parking lot.