Kansas City police saw a woman driver place a fake tag in the window of her car and pulled her over. During the stop, 33-year-old Sofia Salva asked repeatedly for help, saying she was three months pregnant and bleeding. The officers continued with their tasks, to include running her name through their system, and subsequently arrested her. Sofia was released the next day. After going to the hospital, she miscarried.
There are those of us in society who, inexperienced with the profound likelihood of violence and sometimes death with even the most routine parts of our jobs, would have taken Sofia to the hospital right then and there. The more experienced among us, those we have entrusted with the care and safety of our community and who do have said experience, did not.
Sofia was not a law-abiding citizen. She was not known for her kindness toward others or respect for property boundaries, and she treated traffic laws like a cafeteria. None of this is justification for the officers not taking her to the hospital. All of this, however, is the explanation.
For her part, Sofia knew she was in distress and did not call 911 for an ambulance while she was still at the store. It comes as no surprise to those who are familiar with people who consider themselves above the law, to learn of someone who resisted inviting that which they see as associated with law enforcement – even at their own expense.
Did Sofia weigh her options and decide it was better to take herself to the hospital rather than risk calling for an ambulance? She knew she had warrants. She knew she was driving illegally. Given her experience as a criminal, it’s a good bet she also knew she'd be arrested, eventually, if she had called an ambulance.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out as Sofia’s $25,000+ lawsuit proceeds. Will she be able to prove she miscarried solely as a result of the way the police handled the situation, even though she was not physically mishandled relative to any other arrested person? Will she be able to convince the court that she was on her way to the hospital? If so, will she then be able to convince anyone her decision to drive herself rather than calling for an ambulance was in the best interest of her health and the welfare of her baby?
Had Sofia simply minded her Ps and Qs all these years, she might have delivered a full-term, healthy baby in six months. She might also have miscarried at home, as it is her word against her actions where she was really going. It’s worth noting she was not stopped for speeding. This is at least puzzling given her impatient angst during the traffic stop.
Ironically, Sofia has taken litigious issue with the way she was treated, suggesting she holds the policemen responsible for her miscarriage, even though some of her outstanding warrants were for maltreatment of children.