Decatur, Georgia – An officer with a history of excessive force kicked an almost nine month pregnant woman directly in the stomach when she cried out in reaction to her brother being tasered. The officer, Jerad Wheeler had responded to a domestic disturbance and the woman, Raven Dozier, was on the scene attempting to calm her brother down as he argued with police. It was during this argument that the brother was hit with a Taser and Dozier’s reaction prompted Officer Wheeler to deliver what he described as “a front
push-kick to the abdomen, as he was taught to do at the academy.”
According to Officer Wheeler, it was dark and Dozier was wearing a large shirt that concealed her pregnancy. After the kick, Officer Wheeler arrested Dozier and charged her with obstruction. Despite being unavoidably aware of her condition and the possible results of his actions, he took her to the county jail instead of directly to a hospital. Upon arrival the intake personnel redirected her to the hospital due to the heavy bruising and resulting uterine spotting. The baby was delivered two weeks later via an emergency C-section. It is unclear if the assault was responsible for the premature birth although doctors say the baby defecated in the womb and it had complicated the pregnancy. Fortunately, baby Levi is doing fine. The charges against Dozier were later dropped.
Dozier reported the incident but internal affairs brushed off the allegations and deemed that Officer Wheeler had acted properly. She proceeded to hire a lawyer and is suing the department. In the course of the case, two previous incidents that had been swept under the rug have come to light. In one, Officer Wheeler shot and killed a dog on a chain in a garage. Why he felt this was necessary is not known. To make matters worse, he was at the wrong house. The second incident involved Officer Wheeler ratcheting a 53-year-old woman’s arm behind her back and pushing her face into the hood of his cruiser. She had arrived at the scene of her daughter’s car accident to help with her young grandchildren. Both prior incidents and the resulting lack of action from the department have painted a disturbing picture of the DeKalb Police Department.
This is a symptom of the unchecked violence percolating through law enforcement divisions nationwide. The militarization, the reliance on pepper spray and tasers, the overwhelming use of excessive force is matched only by the efforts taken by internal affairs and the higher ranking officers to gloss over the abuses. “To protect and serve” is rapidly being put aside in favor of “abuse and conceal.” This does not bode well for our country.
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