Woman blames Huntsville officer for loss of unborn child - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Woman blames Huntsville officer for loss of unborn child

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The woman filed a complaint with Huntsville police, but said nothing significant has been done. (Source: WAFF) The woman filed a complaint with Huntsville police, but said nothing significant has been done. (Source: WAFF)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

A Huntsville woman blames a Huntsville police officer for the loss of her unborn child. Keisha Percell claims a simple traffic stop led to her being roughed up in a matter of minutes.

Percell filed a complaint with Huntsville police, but said nothing significant has been done.

Over the past several months, we filed several requests for records pertaining to this traffic stop in question, occurring in December of 2013. We also requested documents related to any disciplinary action the officer involved, David Batey received. In the process we found several other questionable violations.

In Percell’s case she said unnecessary force was used to pull her out of the vehicle and on to the hood of a police car. She said it all started when Officer David Batey pulled her over for a light being out. She claims when she finally realized it was her being pulled over, she stopped right away, but apparently not in the right spot

In police dash camera video, you can hear and see Officer Batey bang on the window of her SUV and yell, "Pull up, pull up to the next intersection, now."

"It upsets me, my stomach is turning," said Percell as she watched the dash camera video of the incident.

After about eight minutes of dash camera video, Percell is placed in the back of the police car. Officers say she resisted arrest; however Percell said there was no reason for an arrest in the first place.

It's a game of he-said-she-said until Percell filed a complaint with the Huntsville Police Department. An investigation was done and Percell received a letter from Police Chief Lewis Morris. While vague, Percell believes the letter seems to admit to fault.

In part, the letter reads:

"The investigation into your complaint has been completed and action has been taken to address the situation. Please rest assured every precaution is being taken to make sure this type of incident does not happen in the future."

Chief Morris will not comment on the letter or the case because it is still making its way through the courts. [Read the full letter - PDF]

We reached out to Officer Batey himself. Early Wednesday morning, he said he wanted to sit down with me and explain, but he needed permission from the chief to do so. However, a police captain told us later that day Batey no longer wished to speak.

Batey did tell us he was disciplined for his "rudeness." He said the discipline was in the form of a written reprimand.

Through a public records request made by WAFF, we learned that was not his first written reprimand. After months of requesting documents related to Officer Bateys' disciplinary action and status with the department, we were given nothing about the incident, but instead about a hundred pages of his history on the job.

Since 2006, Batey has been disciplined at least four times. Documents reveal he lost or misplaced a department 2-way radio worth nearly $2,000. He also failed to appear in court on multiple occasions, resulting in at least one case being thrown out. Batey was also officially reprimanded for using his lights and/or sirens to go through at least two intersections – Not due to a crime being committed, but because he was running late for classed he was taking.

Batey was also accused on another occasion of being discourteous and detaining someone for an unreasonable amount of time. The accusation was deemed unfounded by Internal Affairs.

[Read the documents - 2008 - 2009 - 2011 - 2011 Internal affairs memo]

Despite the official reprimands, Batey never received anything less than an "effective" rating on a yearly performance appraisal form since he started with the department in 2006. He also received several outstanding reviews and continued raises.

A Captain with the department says that's because a few mistakes or bad decisions aren't enough to warrant a “marginal” or “unacceptable” review.

Percell said the reprimands show just a glimpse of the officer Batey really is. She believes the dash camera video shows the truth -- what she calls abuse of power and excessive force. Force she says ended a life.

"I thought I was having a miscarriage right then," said Percell as she watched the video of her being pushed onto the hood of the police car.

Percell waited to go to the doctor for a few weeks. When she went, her doctor couldn't make an official ruling, but said that the incident could have led to the death of her baby. It’s a baby that Percell said would’ve had an immediate sister.

"They did an ultrasound right then and they told me I had twins but one passed a couple of week ago,” said Percell. “The thought of it being two…"

Although it's been 8 months since the traffic stop in question, Percell said the pain is still fresh. She hopes speaking out will keep others from feeling that same pain.

Percell is home taking care of her newborn baby daughter.

She said she is appealing her conviction of obstruction and resisting arrest. She claims the judge didn't watch the police dash-camera video. After getting over that hurdle, she plans to take legal action herself.

Officer Batey is still an active police officer with HPD.

 Copyright 2014 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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