A ruling by a judge determined that a couple, who were expecting a baby, had their rights violated by police on the way to the hospital. Dashcom footage of the incident has now been released to the public and to be quite honest, it’s frightening, not to mention the endangerment of the baby that resulted.
In January of 2012, James Reiner was driving his wife, Dana, to the hospital. He water had broken and he was attempting to get her there as soon as possible. That’s when Portage police officer Anthony Dandurand tried to pull them over.
Reiner phoned 911 as he drove on, even though lights and sirens can be seen and heard in the dashcam video. He tried to convey the situation to the operator who told him the best thing to do was to pull over.
“I kept telling him, ‘Don’t pull over, don’t pull over. My water’s already broken,'” Dana said. “‘Let’s just go to the hospital. They’ll follow us there. We’ll work it out there.'”
As you can see in the video, this resulted in a horrifying situation for Reiner and his arrest.
After pulling over Officer Dandurand yelled obscenities at him, telling him to get on the ground on his face while pointing a gun at him. This is outrageous behavior from a police officer when Reiner is complying and trying to tell him about his wife being in labor. The drawing of his weapon was way beyond necessary, since there was absolutely no threat to him.
Though Reiner pleaded concerning his wife and baby, Dandurand told him that he didn’t care.
“The police officer was screaming at me,” he said. “Sirens were left on but it sounded like there was a possibility of me getting shot. So, I rolled down onto the ground and at that time he ran over to me at gunpoint and put his knee to my back and cuffed me as I lay on the ground.”
More cops arrived and taunted Reiner. NW Times reports:
James Reiner said the officers at the traffic stop talked about erasing dash camera videos, made disparaging comments about the public and told him it wasn’t too late to be shocked with a Taser after he had been submissive for some time.
When one of the officers asked why the couple had been pulled over, another replied, “I wanted to get stupid,” the Reiners said.
In a video from Thomas’ car, an officer can be heard talking about a “blue Caddy,” which the Reiners suspected was a reference to their green 1994 Lincoln Town Car.
“Blue Caddy, two times,” the officer says. “I’m like, yeah, this is going to the ‘hood.”
They didn’t even call for an ambulance until 15 minutes after the stop, which didn’t arrive until 20 minutes after the stop. The couple could have simply been escorted to the hospital and the officer thanked for his service, but no, he and his fellow officers were nothing but jackbooted thugs.
Finally, Mrs. Reiner was taken to the hospital and gave birth to a healthy baby. However, she delivered just three minutes after arriving and her daughter’s umbilical cord was wrapped around her twice.
“[The doctor] said if I had her on the side of the road with people who didn’t know what they were doing, she wouldn’t be alive today,” she said.
Mr. Reiner, however, was handcuffed and arrested. He was in jail as his wife gave birth.
In 2014, a judge ruled in the couple’s favor claiming that though there was no constitutionally protected right to be at the birth of a child, that the officers involved violated the Reiners’ constitutional rights when they continued to detain them when they learned that Mrs. Reiner was in labor.
“The court does not think a reasonable officer, after realizing (as Officers Dandurand and Thomas did soon after handcuffing James) that plaintiffs were en route to the hospital to have their baby, would have continued to detain them, much less have kept James under arrest and taken him to jail for the night. To the contrary: such conduct, at that point, violates the clearly established guarantees of the Fourth Amendment,” Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry wrote.
Every officer involved in this incident continue to work for the police department. Dandurand has been moved to the K-9 program. I don’t think that would make me feel anymore confident.
The Reiners are not anti-police. However, they do want to see certain people out of law enforcement.
“We absolutely, 100 percent support law enforcement, but there are some people who don’t belong in that profession,” Dana Reiner said. “There needs to be accountability.”
Frankly, I’m starting to wonder if law-abiding citizens can’t take care of their own communities rather than having an established police force. After all, what did our forefathers do before there was a police force? That’s right, they handled things themselves.