A protester in Seattle, Washington aligned with Occupy Wall Street says that an assault from a cop last week has caused a miscarriage, which if true marks the first loss of life from police brutality since the demonstrations began two months ago.
Photographers were on hand November 15 to document 19-year-old Jennifer Fox being pepper-sprayed by police in Seattle while participating in an Occupy protest on the West Coast. Along with an assault on an 84-year-old activist, the incident involving Fox, then pregnant, was arguably not only the most disturbing scene out of the Occupy Seattle movement but out of the international demonstrations altogether. Less than a week later now, Fox says that she has suffered a miscarriage and according to her, doctors say that an attack from police is to blame.
"Everything was going okay until yesterday, when I started getting sick, cramps started, and I felt like I was going to pass out," Fox tells The Stranger out of Seattle.
Although a checkup with her physician a month earlier proved the unborn child to be in perfect health, Fox says that things took a turn for the worst this week after her confrontation with the Seattle police. Five days after she was pepper sprayed and assaulted by cops, she found out on November 20 that the heart of her child stopped beating and she was experiencing a miscarriage.
Fox tells the Stranger that her physician says that police action led to the incident. While her reaction to a blast of pepper spray was caught on film, Fox adds that that was just a part of what she had to experience in Seattle last week.
"I was standing in the middle of the crowd when the police started moving in," says Fox. "I was screaming, 'I am pregnant, I am pregnant. Let me through. I am trying to get out.'" From there, she says, an officer with the Seattle Police Department lifted his foot, kicking her in the stomach. A moment later, another office charged at her on his bicycle, again attacking her and her unborn child.
"Right before I turned, both cops lifted their pepper spray and sprayed me. My eyes puffed up and my eyes swelled shut," she says.
Checking in with doctors this week after experiencing excruciating pain, Fox tells The Stranger that physicians told her, “the damage was from the kick and that the pepper spray got to it [the fetus], too."
"I was worried about it, but I didn't know it would be this bad,” she says. “I didn't know that a cop would murder a baby that's not born yet.”
Fox adds that she is trying to obtain an attorney to represent her so that she can attempt to prosecute the Seattle PD over the assault. Across the country in New York City, two Occupy Wall Street protesters filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the NYPD on Monday alleging that they were falsely arrested and suffered from excessive police force during a demonstration there.
Though police action across the country has spawned a few outbursts of brutality since the Occupy movement began, until Fox’s revelation there have been no deaths reported as a result of departmental force. Last month, US Military vet Scott Olsen suffered a fractured skull after being hit by a police projectile and though originally admitted to a hospital in critical condition, has since greatly recovered.
The Stranger and other outlets are currently investigation the legitimacy of Fox’s claims, seeking more information to confirm that the police assault could have indeed led to her miscarriage.