A woman is stopped for a traffic violation.
She tearfully explains that she is pregnant, she is bleeding, and she begs — at least a dozen times — to be taken to the hospital.
She might as well have been talking to the wall.
The cops either ignore her, or make light of her plight. They respond, when they bother to do so, with replies like, “What do you want us to do about it?”
She was jailed — and not taken to a hospital despite her pleas.
Several days later, upon her release, she gives birth to a premature baby, who breathes precisely for one minute — and dies.
When I heard this story, I thought of the motto, ‘protect and serve’ — and wondered, ‘protect who?’ — ‘serve who?’
A young pregnant woman, bleeding — begging — and it means nothing. Less than nothing. One of the cops, a female, replied, “How is that my problem?”
Will these cops, who saw a pregnant woman suffering — bleeding! — ever face reckless endangerment charges? Nope. Were they fired? Nope. Will they be? I doubt it.
The most that may happen — I say may — is the woman may file a civil suit — and some years later, she may even win (unless a judge decides the cops are immune from suit, as is often the case).
But it will mean nothing — for a baby is dead, forever.
No judge on earth can restore that infant’s spark of life.
That all of this was caught on video, and was hot news (until the tornadoes ripped through Florida), tells us that the cops weren’t terribly concerned about it.
It was just the job — hospitals might’ve involved too much paperwork — or perhaps overtime.
I’ve named no city: nor the woman. I haven’t had to.
For it could’ve been anywhere — and almost anyone.
It’s not like these were mutually exclusive choices — take her to the hospital, or take her to jail. Observers know that when folks are injured, they are often carted to the hospital, where facilities exist to insure security.
That didn’t happen — because those two people holding her hostage didn’t want to.
It’s really that simple.
It happened in early 21st Century America, and shows us vividly what’s going on these days.
‘Protect and serve?’ Protect who? Serve who?
Not her. Not that baby.
Copyright 2007 Mumia Abu-Jamal