Lawsuit: Woman alleges Southfield police assaulted her, caused miscarriage

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A woman is suing Southfield police, alleging she was assaulted by officers during an encounter this year and suffered a miscarriage as a result.

According to the lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court, three officers responded to a domestic dispute at the home of Crystal White’s mother on Jan. 9. 

Southfield Police Department patrol vehicle

Her sister had called 911 while White, whose young daughter was at the scene, argued with relatives, the filing stated.

The officers arrived as White was packing belongings in her car; as they approached, one immediately accused White "… of being armed,” the suit alleges.

When White, who was 12 weeks pregnant, exposed her waistband to show she had no weapons, one of the officers “lunged forward and punched” the 38-year-old in the face, according to the court documents.  Another officer then deployed his taser and struck her in the abdomen.

White said she was taken into custody and handcuffed, according to the court filing.

Her unborn baby died Feb. 22, and the police encounter left White with cuts, bruises as well as multiple loose and broken teeth, the lawsuit claims. 

 She is seeking at least $75,000 in damages.

Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren and his deputy chiefs did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday night. Neither did a representative for the city, which is also listed as a defendant in the suit.

The case coincides with weeks of protests in Metro Detroit as well as a nationwide outcry against police brutality following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis last month.

Floyd's slaying has led officials in that city and New York to address policing measures. And in Congress, Democrats are proposing a sweeping overhaul of police oversight and procedures.