SEATTLE — Three Seattle police officers were justified when they used a stun gun on a pregnant woman who would not sign a traffic ticket, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday in a case that prompted an incredulous dissent.
Malaika Brooks was driving her son to Seattle’s African American Academy in 2004 when she was stopped for speeding in a school zone. She insisted it was the car in front of her that was speeding, and refused to sign the ticket because she thought she’d be admitting guilt.
Rather than give her the ticket and let her go on her way, the officers decided to arrest her. One reached in, turned off her car and dropped the keys on the floor. Brooks stiffened her arms against the steering wheel and told the officers she was pregnant, but refused to get out, even after they threatened to stun her.
The officers — Sergeant Steven Daman, Officer Juan Ornelas, and Officer Donald Jones — then stunned her three times, in the thigh, shoulder, and neck, and hauled her out of the car, laying her in the street.
Brooks gave birth to a healthy baby two months later, but has permanent scars from the