Fierce

A Pregnant Woman With Parking Violations Was Arrested And Put In Jail During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Diamond Davis is a Montgomery, AL-based woman who is pregnant and currently dealing with criminal charges.

On April 19, the pregnant mother-to-be was arrested and detained overnight in a prison currently battling coronavirus cases. Davis had been brought to the prison after police officers had arrested her for failing to show up for court hearings about her traffic-related violations. There were other similar charges that led to her arrest and jail detainment which a judge dismissed her from, via teleconference, after assigning her a new court date which will open up a new discussion on how she will repay the fines she owes.

While traffic-related violations are important to pay attention to, Davis’s arrest and time in prison is raising concerns among advocates calling for a chance in the climb in numbers of pregnant women “who have been put at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19 because of non-violent charges by a prison system being accused of not doing enough to protect those it incarcerates,” according to Refinery29.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Davis’ case was highlighted as part of a vicious cycle targeting the disadvantaged.

According to The New York Times, Davis’ car was pulled over when police noticed that her temporary license plates had expired. After the officers stopped her they found that the 27-year-old mother-to-be was driving without a license and without car insurance. They also discovered that she had overdue court fines.

David was taken to Montgomery City Jail and told NYT that her request for a mask and gloves had been denied. She also claims that there was no hot water available for her to wash her hands.

What’s worse, one of the two women she had been made to share a cell with was coughing.

Soon after Davis’s release from the Montgomery City Jail, police reported five positive coronavirus cases.

While the cases were reported amongst the jail’s federal incarcerated community, which is reportedly kept in a separate area from people incarcerated by the city– like Davis– five cases were also reported among the jail’s nurses and correctional officers. According to NYT, “The number of positive cases has since risen to 21, Michael Briddell, the director of public information for Montgomery, said Wednesday.”

Michael Briddell, the director of public information for Montgomery, explained in an interview with NYT that early on in the pandemic, “the city took steps to release nearly all nonviolent offenders, adding that the jail held 93 detainees in the last week of April, compared with 115 detainees during the same period a year ago.” According to Briddel “only the most extreme nonviolent cases are being held,” and Davis fell under this category because she had 16 outstanding warrants.

Meanwhile, Claudia Wilner, who is the director of litigation for the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, which fights for economic justice for low-income people, “overpolicing of black communities had led to the constant issuing of tickets for traffic violations.” The underlying implication? Injustices in our criminal system are bringing people into places where they could potentially face death. Is it worth it?

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