Lawsuit: Southfield police officers used excessive force during arrest causing death of unborn baby

Lawsuit alleges pregnant woman was tasered by officers

Police siren (Generic photo)

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – A woman is suing the Southfield Police Department and three of its officers alleging that excessive force led her to lose her unborn baby.

UPDATE: Southfield police chief defends officers accused of police brutality

According to the lawsuit, on Jan. 9 Crystal White, 38, of Southfield, was involved in a verbal altercation with her mother, sister and brother-in-law at her mother’s residence. Her sister called the Southfield police to report a domestic dispute.

White gathered her belongings and began packing her car when three Southfield officers, Officer J. Woodside, Officer M. Fair and Officer A. Rucinski, arrived on scene and accused her of being armed, according to the lawsuit.

White denied being armed and lifted her shirt to expose her waistline, according to the lawsuit. White reports that this is when Woodside lunged forward and punched her in the left side of her face.

When Woodside stepped back, Fair deployed his Taser and struck White in the abdomen, according to the lawsuit. White was 12 weeks pregnant at this time. The lawsuit said the officers forcibly handcuffed White.

According to the lawsuit, White’s baby died on Feb. 22. White’s lawyers are asking for an amount in excess of $75,000 for damages.

The lawsuit alleges that White’s injuries include the following:

  • Lacerations in and around mouth
  • Multiple loose/broken teeth
  • Bruising throughout entire body
  • Death of Baby White
  • Pain and suffering
  • Anxiety
  • Mental anguish
  • Humiliation and/or mortification
  • Present and future economic loss
  • Medical and hospital expenses

“The acts and/or omissions of Defendants Woodside, Fair, and Rucinski were willful, wanton, reckless, malicious, oppressive and/or done with a conscious reckless disregard for the constitutional rights of Crystal White," the lawsuit reads.

View the lawsuit below:

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.