PARMA, Ohio (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team obtained video putting a spotlight on a new state law restricting when police can put handcuffs on a woman who is pregnant.
We’ve found the law is now making officers think twice about using handcuffs even at a chaotic scene.
The video shows Parma police stop a driver after a chase. She flies into a rage, and officers struggle to control her. Then, she says something that changes everything.
The driver says, “I’m pregnant. I’m pregnant.”
A new Ohio law recently took effect restricting when police and jail guards can handcuff or restrain a woman who’s pregnant.
And, while it specifically places limits when pregnant women are in custody, the law is so new, we’ve found officers in various departments still asking questions about it.
At that scene in Parma, the video shows officers taking off the handcuffs. Then, police handcuffed the woman with her hands in the front of her body.
The Ohio attorney General’s office says, under the new law, officers cannot handcuff or restrain pregnant women who’ve been charged or convicted, and the pregnancy has to be confirmed. The law does not list restrictions at the scene of an arrest, say, after a traffic stop.
We caught up with one of the sponsors of the new law, State Rep. Terrence Upchurch of Cleveland.
We asked him why he felt a need to pass this law.
He said, “With this law, what we’re trying to do is reduce the number of violent encounters between police and pregnant women.”
Rep. Upchurch told us he first took an interest because of pregnant women in jail.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office says the state is now starting to train officers on when and how the new law applies.
Upchurch added, “I really think that it’s very important that we have the right training now that this is law. And, you know, hopefully we do see an impact.”
Back to the case in Parma, a police report shows the woman in a rage even did damage to a patrol car. And, she had an infant in her car not buckled in properly.
Now, police have filed a series of charges against Cadaje Penny.
The incident started when police say she drove nearly 70 miles an hour in a 35 mph zone even through a construction zone.
Court records show Penny now has a warrant out for her arrest for not showing up for court. So, after all this, she could end up in handcuffs again.