A Florida police officer has been arrested for allegedly kicking an eight-month pregnant woman in the stomach.
Police charged 26-year-old Ambar Pacheco with aggravated battery after they said she accosted a pregnant woman on a street corner in South Beach. The victim, whose due date was more than a week away, gave birth hours later.
Ms Pacheco has worked as a uniformed police officer with the North Miami Beach Police Department for almost a year, according to a department spokesperson. She told police she attacked the pregnant woman on Wednesday night, claiming the victim’s boyfriend had kicked her sister in the face.
“I saw red and beat the s*** out of her,” Ms Pacheco, who was off-duty at the time, allegedly told police. She later said she didn’t know who she had kicked.
It was unclear at the time of publication whether Ms Pacheco had obtained a lawyer.
Officers who responded to the scene observed the victim having “severe pain in her abdomen region and possibly having contractions,” according to an arrest affidavit. She was transported to a local hospital, where she gave birth to a baby boy.
The victim, who a local CBS station identified as Evoni Murray, said she was just happy her child was healthy.
“I am pretty overwhelmed that the incident had to happen you know,” Ms Murray told CBS4 from her hospital room. “We forgive but we never forget … I just hope that she gets her life together and gets the help that she needs.”
Ms Murray denied that her boyfriend, Joseph Predelus Jr, had kicked the officer’s sister in the face. She said they were walking down the street when they saw the two women, who were crying. The women thought the couple was talking about them, Ms Murray said, at which point they “got belligerent”.
“If it weren’t for Joseph it could have been a lot more serious,” Ms Murray said.
The couple named the baby Joseph Predelus III.
Ms Pacheco was relieved of duty at the North Miami Police Department pending an internal investigation, according to a local ABC affiliate. The department will decide if Ms Pacheco will be paid on leave after the state attorney’s office reaches a decision on filing charges.
The officer could face up to 15 years in prison, 15 years probation and a $10,000 fine if convicted of aggravated battery of a pregnant woman – a second-degree felony offence.
“It kind of troubles me to know that the people who are supposed to be serving and protecting us are hurting us,” Ms Murray said.
“I know it not all of them and one apple doesn’t spoil the bunch. It’s just that sometimes you get a bad seed.”
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