GREENVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Texas deputy shown in a video apparently striking a pregnant woman may have used force to prevent her from taking his firearm, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.
Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks acknowledged at a news conference that he’s not certain Deanna Robinson reached for the weapon. But he said the deputy told investigators that she loosened his ammunition belt in the struggle.
Robinson was 38 weeks pregnant when she was arrested March 4 at her parents’ home in Quinlan during a child abuse investigation.
Home surveillance video appears to show Robinson pressed stomach-first against a counter, then the unidentified deputy raising his arm and striking her. Robinson, 38, is heard on tape screaming, “I’m pregnant!”
The video was later posted online.
Meeks said Texas Rangers are leading the investigation and he’s begun an internal review to determine if policy violations occurred during the confrontation with Robinson, who has called for the deputy to be charged with assault.
Meeks said one “narrative” from the approximately 30-second video is that his deputy struck a pregnant woman. But another narrative, he said, is that Robinson was reaching for his weapon.
“Which narrative is correct?” he asked. “I don’t know. I wasn’t there.”
Rangers will be reviewing much more evidence beyond just the video clip, he said.
Robinson has said officers gave no reason why they were taking her 18-month-old boy into protective custody, but Meeks said she was shown a court order granting the custody.
“Everything went chaotic right off the get-go,” he said.
Robinson, an Air Force veteran, was arrested on charges of assault on a public servant, resisting arrest and interfering with child custody. She spent nearly a week in jail.
Her son, born healthy on March 15, is with her parents. Three stepchildren and her toddler son are with Child Protective Services.
Robinson and her husband, a few days before her arrest, had an argument and got into a shoving match as she held her toddler, she said. One of the older children apparently told a teacher, who reported the incident to Child Protective Services.
Robinson and her toddler were staying with her parents when officers arrived to do a welfare check on the 18-month-old, leading to the scuffle as she tried to prevent deputies from taking her son.
“There was no professionalism. There was brute force against her, where she was obviously pregnant, it was not something that they could mistake,” said attorney Carol Gustin, representing Robinson.
Quinlan is 40 miles northeast of Dallas.