|Kwamesha Sharp: She was talking to a woman near a crime scene when "Officer" Richard Jones got angry that they didn't "shut up." Jones caused the 17-year-old Sharp to miscarry by kneeing her in the stomach and sending the ambulance away when it arrived.|
By Free Thought Project
A police officer accused of past misconduct faces a new federal complaint accusing him of raping a pregnant woman and threatening to arrest her if she resisted.
Identifying herself only as Jane Doe, the woman filed the complaint on Wednesday against Richard Jones and the city of Harvey, a south suburb of Chicago.
Doe, who says she is 20, says Jones began harassing her in June 2015.
The Harvey police officer allegedly added his phone number to her cellphone without her consent, and began calling her repeatedly. Doe says she did not answer his calls or messages.
In August, when Doe was visibly pregnant, Jones saw her at a gas station and made comments to her such as “You know how good you look,” “I’ve wanted you since the first day I saw you when you were wearing that dress,” and, “There are so many things I would like to do to you,” according to the lawsuit.
The next day, Jones pulled Doe over for driving without a license and ordered her to follow him to a nearby train parking lot, she says.
He allegedly waved her into a secluded area behind the parking lot, then forced her to perform oral sex on him.
Jones then ordered Doe to bend over the car, where he raped her, ignoring her protests and the fact that she was pregnant, according to the complaint. She claims he threatened to arrest her if she did not comply with his demands.
Jones remains on the force, despite the fact that this is not the first time he has been accused of misconduct against a pregnant woman, Doe says.
In 2011, Jones allegedly caused 17-year-old Kwamesha Sharp to miscarry by kneeing her in the stomach and sending the ambulance away. A settlement in her case could cost the city up to $1 million, the Chicago Tribune reported last year.
The Tribune detailed Sharp’s case in an investigation of policing in Harvey, Ill., a town it said provides “perhaps the clearest view of the breakdown of oversight” of police in Illinois, in a state already infamous for its lack of police oversight.
“This is Illinois, where the state-imposed ethical standards for a cosmetologist are far higher than those for a cop,” the Tribune’s report begins.
Sharp’s allegations did not trigger any state review of the officer’s actions that day, according to the Tribune.
Instead, a special police committee reportedly gave Jones one of 71 statewide bravery awards.
Recent evidence of the lack of police oversight in Chicago, and the uproar over the video of Laquan McDonald’s shooting, has trigger major personnel changes in the city’s police department and the Independent Police Review Board. The board allegedly fired one of its investigators last year for finding a police shooting unjustified.
But Harvey Mayor Eric Kellogg, himself a part-time police officer in a neighboring town, has opposed an outside review of the department.
The U.S. Justice Department investigated the city in 2008 after dozens of rape kits were found unprocessed – and some of the men connected to those kits had raped again.
It concluded in 2012 that the city’s “system for reporting, reviewing and investigating use of force is grossly deficient and creates a high risk of excessive force.”
The Justice Department recommended that Harvey implement clear policies on the use of force, and expand its investigations of allegations against police officers. However, it is unclear if Harvey has adopted any of the suggestions.
The City of Harvey did not immediately respond to a request for comment made Thursday at noon.
Doe is represented by Ronak Maisuria with Erickson & Oppenheimer, the same firm that represents Sharp. She seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
This story was originally published by Courthouse News.