By David Edwards
A woman who was pepper sprayed during during a raid on Occupy Seattle last week is blaming police after she miscarried Sunday. Video from IowaBoyDave, uploaded to YouTube Nov. 21, 2011.
Jennifer Fox, 19, told The Stranger that she had been with the Occupy protests since they started in Westlake Park. She said she was homeless and three months pregnant, but felt the need to join activists during their march last Tuesday.
“I was standing in the middle of the crowd when the police started moving in,” Fox recalled. “I was screaming, ‘I am pregnant, I am pregnant. Let me through. I am trying to get out.’”
She claimed that police hit her in the stomach twice before pepper spraying her. One officer struck her with his foot and another pushed his bicycle into her. It wasn’t clear if either of those incidents were intentional.
“Right before I turned, both cops lifted their pepper spray and sprayed me. My eyes puffed up and my eyes swelled shut,” Fox said.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer photographer Joshua Trujillo snapped a picture of Fox in apparent agony as another activist carried her to an ambulance.
Seattle fire department spokesman Kyle Moore told The Washington Post that a 19-year-old pregnant woman was among those that were examined by paramedics.
While doctors at Harborview Medical Center didn’t see any problems at the time, things took a turn for the worst Sunday.
“Everything was going okay until yesterday, when I started getting sick, cramps started, and I felt like I was going to pass out,” she explained.
When Fox arrived at the hospital, doctors told her that the baby had no heartbeat.
“They diagnosed that I was having a miscarriage. They said the damage was from the kick and that the pepper spray got to it [the fetus], too,” she said.
“I was worried about it [when I joined the protests], but I didn’t know it would be this bad. I didn’t know that a cop would murder a baby that’s not born yet… I am trying to get lawyers.”
The Scoville heat chart indicates that U.S. grade pepper spray is ten times more painful than the blistering hot habanero pepper, according to Scientific American. While law enforcement officials regulary claim that the spray is safe, researchers at the University of North Carolina and Duke University found that it could “produce adverse cardiac, respiratory, and neurologic effects, including arrhythmias and sudden death.”