A Seattle teenager’s claim that abuse by Seattle police caused her miscarriage has become a viral Internet sensation of the Occupy movement, but no evidence has emerged to support her allegation.
Jennifer M. Fox, 19, has accused Seattle police of kicking her and hitting her in the stomach with a bicycle during a Nov. 15 Occupy Seattle protest, then dousing her with pepper spray, even after she yelled, “I’m pregnant.” A viral video shows her reeling from the pepper spray, but not being struck.
Fox has declined to provide medical records supporting her claim that she had a miscarriage five days after being hit, and her family has cast doubt on the claim.
But Seattle police have independently launched an internal investigation because of the “seriousness of her allegations,” said spokesman Mark Jamieson.
“Their goal is to find any – any – info that supports her claims. You have to take her word,” he said.
In an interview Tuesday at the Occupy Seattle encampment on Capitol Hill, Fox said she had three ultrasound pictures of her fetus in her tent but declined to show them to reporters.
She also said did not plan to pick up medical records at Harborview Medical Center that could document the miscarriage until after a planned memorial service on Saturday, and she declined to sign a waiver allowing reporters to obtain the documents independently. She said the baby was a girl, to be named Miracle.
“I have some stuff to do today,” said Fox, who described herself as a homeless former foster child. “I have to get some stuff done.”
Fox’s former foster mother, Lark Stebbins, said Fox called her from Harborview after one recent protest but did not mention she was pregnant. She said Fox, whom she parented for 10 years, has a pattern of exaggeration.
“My daughter is a compulsive liar,” said Stebbins. “She’s a wannabe drama queen.”
Fox’s allegations, first reported by The Stranger, were widely disseminated by media, including the Washington Post, as part of a growing concern about an overly aggressive police response to Occupy protests, including those in Seattle last week.
Those protests were marred by use of pepper spray against 84-year-old Dorli Rainey. An image of Rainey’s face became an Internet phenomenon, and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn apologized to her.