Here is an update on the pregnant woman who was brutally attacked by cops who refused to believe she was pregnant. Melanie Dawn Williams, who in 2005, was pregnant at the time, was rushing to the hospital due to bleeding. She ran a red light, was stopped by a cop, but, due to the pain she was in, proceeded on to the hospital. Upon arriving in the ER, she was followed by the cops into the ER, thrown to the floor, with one of the cops putting his shoe on the back of her neck. She was then taken outside the hospital, only to have a nurse convince the cops to bring Ms. Williams back into the hospital for medical care. The cops did as instructed by the nurse, with Ms. Williams spending 10 days in the hospital.

Melanie Williams

Melanie Williams

Melanie attacked by police officer in the ER.

Ms. Williams later delivered her baby, with both mother and child surviving the ordeal.

For the cops inhumane maltreatment of Ms. Williams, the city of Jacksonville was served with a lawsuit. (The suit was recently settled for $67,500.00.)

All it would have taken for the situation to remain from escalating, was for the officer to inquire as to why Ms. Williams was speeding, follow her to the hospital, make sure she was not lying about her condition, and then, write her up for a traffic ticket, if it was so necessary for him to fine her.

Instead, the cops endangered Ms. Williams’ life and the life of her baby.

Thanks to their crass behaviour, the city had to pay out for a lawsuit settlement. Not to mention the mental anguish Ms. Williams suffered, as well as possible health complications for her baby.

Then again, cops like these give decent cops a bad name.

Not to mention losing what little brains they have when they could have just let reason, instead of police brutality, win the day.


A woman in premature labor was arrested in the hospital after running a red light.

June 7, 2010 – 7:13pm

By Paul Pinkham

On the eve of trial, a woman detained as she rushed to the hospital in premature labor has settled her unlawful arrest lawsuit against Jacksonville police for $67,500.

Melanie Dawn Williams was scheduled to go to trial this morning against the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and two officers who she said tackled her in the St. Vincent’s Medical Center emergency room in 2005. The officers had pursued her after she ran a red light in Riverside.

The eleventh hour settlement appeared to satisfy all concerned.

“It achieved the certainty of not having an uncertain result,” said City Hall attorney Jon Phillips, who represented the Sheriff’s Office. He said he couldn’t comment further. 

Fraternal Order of Police attorney Paul Daragjati called the settlement a good result for the officers, Matthew Sirmons and James Mills. 

And Williams’ attorney, Linnes Finney, said the settlement recognizes the city’s exposure in the officers’ conduct. Fortunately, he said, his client and her child haven’t experienced health problems as a result.

“We think we proved our point,” Finney said.

Williams was seven months pregnant when she rushed to the hospital on doctor’s orders after noticing vaginal bleeding. After she was handcuffed in the emergency room, she was led back outside to the hospital parking lot.

Eventually a nurse came outside, found Williams bleeding and insisted she be taken to the hospital’s labor and delivery unit, where doctors successfully staved off labor. She spent 10 days in the hospital.

The officers were disciplined. One told internal affairs investigators that Williams didn’t mention being pregnant until they cuffed her; the other said she never mentioned it.

But that didn’t matter because the officers should have recognized she was in some sort of medical distress, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled last year. The appellate court denied the officers’ immunity claims and ruled Williams’ could sue for unlawful arrest but not for excessive force.

That decision was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case.

In the weeks preceding trial, U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard ruled jurors wouldn’t hear about the officers’ discipline or, at the outset, Williams’ misdemeanor arrest record for drug possession and resisting arrest. She said lawyers for the police could revisit that issue depending on the evidence at trial.

But Howard ordered that Williams’ discovery of bleeding during sex could come in at trial.

Finney denied that Howard’s rulings had anything to do with prompting a settlement.

paul.pinkham@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4107





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