Officers forcefully arresting James Reiner as he tries to explain his wife is in late labor.
In 2012, Dana Reiner was in labor and her husband, James Reiner, was doing his best to get her to the hospital as quickly as possible. Along the way they passed two police officers who pulled them over, although James Reiner insists they were not speeding. Dana was in late labor and the video shows they drove 1.1 miles before finally pulling over. James' window was broken on his older car and he opened the door to tell the officer his wife was in labor. He was promptly forced to the ground at gunpoint, handcuffed faced down on the ground and left there for seven minutes while he and his wife pleaded with the officers, who eventually called for an ambulance:
Dana Reiner gave birth to daughter Abigail within minutes of arriving at the hospital in Crown Point, though her doctor paused the delivery twice to turn Abigail and unwrap her umbilical cord from around her neck. Dana Reiner said the doctor told her that her baby would have died had she given birth on the side of the road.
James was not with her when their daughter was born because he'd been arrested on probable cause felony resisting law enforcement, although charges were never filed. There were several troubling aspects of the arrest—the over-aggressiveness of officers, the threats to tase him despite the fact he was already handcuffed and not resisting, officers caught on audio recording discussing whether to erase the dash cam footage and lying to the local prosecutor. A judge ruled police were definitely wrong to arrest him:
A U.S. District magistrate judge ruled in July 2014 that while there is no clearly established legal right to be present at the birth of one’s child, Dandurand and Thomas violated the Reiners’ constitutional rights when they continued to detain the couple after learning Dana was in labor.
"The court does not think a reasonable officer, after realizing (as Officers Dandurand and Thomas did soon after handcuffing James) that plaintiffs were en route to the hospital to have their baby, would have continued to detain them, much less have kept James under arrest and taken him to jail for the night. To the contrary: such conduct, at that point, violates the clearly established guarantees of the Fourth Amendment," Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry wrote.
The Reiners are coming forward now to demand more police accountability and clear James' name:
Although James Reiner was not formally charged, his criminal history still shows a felony arrest, he said. He’s a track supervisor for Norfolk Southern and would have to pass a background check if he applies for a different job within the company.
All of the officers involved continue to work for the police department. See video of the arrest, including a police discussion that might shed light on the real reason they pulled the Reiners over so aggressively. Police can be heard discussing his older model Lincoln, saying it is "probably going to the hood." See the dash cam video at nwitimes.com.