Dash-cam video has emerged of a Indiana man being accosted on the highway by Portage police while attempting to explain that his wife was in labor and that he was taking her to a hospital.
James Reiner was arrested and jailed in January 2012 on Ind. Hwy 2 just east of Clay Street near Lowell as he was rushing his wife Dana to Franciscan St. Anthony Health hospital to give birth.
Sgt. Anthony Dandurand and officer Travis Thomas booked the man on “probable cause felony resisting law enforcement” after the couple didn’t immediately pull over for Dandurand, who claimed in a police report he chased Lincoln Town Car for 5 miles.
Later, the officer was forced to admit in court however that James had driven only 1.1 miles after the officer had turned on his lights and dashboard camera, and no formal charge was ever filed against the man.
The footage shows James being cussed at by police as they tell him to “get on the fucking ground,” and “get his fucking hands behind his back.”
James can be heard shouting that his wife was in labor to which an officer responds, “You pull over. I don’t care. You pull over.”
Dana is heard shouting, “I’m in labor. My water broke,” to which an officer tells her he was calling an ambulance.
“I don’t need an ambulance. I just need my husband,” Dana says.
“You need an ambulance,” the officer replies. “He’s going to jail.”
Watch the raw footage:
Police had an ambulance take Dana to the hospital in Crown Point where she gave birth to daughter Abigail reportedly within minutes of arriving though her doctor was forced to stop the delivery twice to unwrap the child’s umbilical cord from around her neck.
Dana maintains that the doctor told her that her baby would have died had she given birth on the side of the road.
“That’s a moment you are never going to get back. There’s no redoing it,” Dana said of her husband missing the birth of their daughter. “When I think about the fact that James, who is a wonderful man, was deprived of that — it makes me sad. And it makes me sad that Abby missed out on that, too. They missed out on that very first, that bond.”
In a civil case, a U.S. District magistrate judge ruled in July 2014 that Dandurand and Thomas violated the Reiners’ constitutional rights when they continued to detain the couple after learning Dana was in labor.
Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry wrote:
The court does not think a reasonable officer, after realizing (as Officers Dandurand and Thomas did soon after handcuffing James) that plaintiffs were en route to the hospital to have their baby, would have continued to detain them, much less have kept James under arrest and taken him to jail for the night. To the contrary: such conduct, at that point, violates the clearly established guarantees of the Fourth Amendment.
Cherry allowed several of the Reiners’ federal and state law claims, including illegal seizure of person, excessive force, false arrest, assault, battery and false imprisonment, to remain to the extent they alleged wrongdoing after the officers knew Dana Reiner was in labor.
“The continued detainment of the couple became unlawful after the officers learned Dana Reiner was in labor,” Cherry wrote, “and any further use of force was objectively unreasonable.”
The Reiners settled the lawsuit in May for an undisclosed amount.