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NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A four-months pregnant Norman woman is saying she was unfairly forced onto the ground by the Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police Department at a traffic stop.

Monica Austin told KFOR the experience terrified her and left her in tears. She’s demanding an apology from Chickasaw Lighthorse PD.

“If they feel I was a threat, I need them to let me know how I was a threat,” she said. “How am I a threat? A four-month pregnant woman going home from work, no weapons, complying to the best of her ability.”

Austin said Monday night, at about 10 p.m., she had gotten off a 14-hour shift of work in Wayne, Okla., and was driving home on Interstate 35 towards Norman.

Nearing her destination, she says she pulled to the side of the interstate by the Goldsby exit when a vehicle with flashing lights got behind her. She said it parked far away.

“So, I thought that was unusual,” she said. “I didn’t know if it was a construction vehicle or I was actually getting pulled over. So, I sit there for like five minutes and no one came up to my vehicle. So, I thought, ‘Well, it’s not a cop. I’m just going to go ahead and go.’”

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Monica Austin

She continues her commute home. Several minutes later, the same vehicle with flashing lights – now with an active siren – pulled her over right off the Lindsey Street exit.

Chickasaw Lighthorse Police tell KFOR this was one of their officers making a traffic stop on Austin.

Austin said the car, again, parked far behind her and did not approach her.

“I spent a good 15 minutes sitting there wondering what was going on and if this was really the police because by this time, I’m like, ‘OK, maybe it’s someone impersonating the police,’” she said.

Panicking, she calls her friend on speaker phone. Her friend calls an area law enforcement dispatcher and connects Austin in on the call, the two friends hoping the dispatcher can tell them what’s going on.

“The lady immediately knew what we were talking about and she said yes, they had me pulled over because I had them in a slow pursuit,” Austin explained. “So I’m like, ‘I tried to pull over. nobody approached me.’ She said, ‘Well, they’re going to start giving her commands.’ And so I’m really afraid now because I’m like, ‘Commands for what? I haven’t done nothing.”

Austin said the dispatcher told her it was Lighthorse Police that had pulled her over.

Austin said she then heard a police officer get on his loudspeaker and he commanded her to roll down her window.

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Monica Austin reenacts the traffic stop.

She said she was afraid to move her hands towards the window button, in fear she could get shot by police for moving. But she said after multiple demands from the officer, she prayed and then rolled the window down and put her hands out the window.

Austin told KFOR that with guns drawn, the officers commanded her by loudspeaker to exit her car and walk backwards towards them with her hands up in the air. She followed the instructions and once near the officer, she was told to get down on her knees.

“So once I finally reached him, then that’s when they told me to get down on the ground, and I could hear [a] dispatcher telling him that I was pregnant on their speakers or whatever; and so I told him I’m pregnant, and he said, ‘Get down!’ So, I got down on my knees and he said, ‘How far along are you?’ And so I told him four months.”

After lowering to her knees, she was handcuffed.

“By this time, I’m just crying because I’m really not understanding what I’ve done,” she said. “I haven’t done anything to be treated like this. So, I don’t understand what they’re doing this for. Then he commands me to get up, and I’m like, ‘I can’t get up by myself from this situation.'”

Austin said the officer helped her up.

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Chickasaw Lighthorse Police Department

Chickasaw Lighthorse Police Chief Michael Manning sent KFOR the following statement on the situation:

“At 10:28 p.m. Monday, March 28 Lighthorse Police initiated a traffic stop of a red Dodge Charger which matched the description of a vehicle reported by the McClain County Sheriff’s office as possibly being involved in illegal activity involving firearms. When the driver failed to stop and continued north at a slow rate of speed for approximately five minutes, this further aroused suspicions of the officers. Norman Police responded to calls for assistance and were present when the driver subsequently stopped at 10:33 p.m. at the intersection of Interstate 35 and Lindsey Street. Officers at the scene took necessary precautions to ensure public safety as they temporarily detained the occupants. The occupants were later determined not to be involved in the initial incident and were released.”

CHIEF MICHAEL MANNING, CHICKASAW LIGHTHORSE POLICE

Austin said the entire situation at the traffic stop has left her frustrated.

“I wasn’t doing nothing illegal for them to treat me as if I was a threat to the community,” she said. “That’s straight B.S. I think that [the traffic stop] was conducted very poorly and I think they put my life and my unborn child’s life in jeopardy. I want them to apologize. I want them to get better training.”

Austin believes the department needs to change its protocols and procedures for dealing with pregnant women.