‘I hadn’t done anything:’ Pregnant woman arrested in Boca Raton traffic stop
The call first came out as a domestic situation. Nerillia Laurent’s car broke down at a local gas station. According to Boca Raton police, she and her boyfriend, Harry Hardy, were arguing.
When two Boca Raton officers showed up to check out the situation, things got physical.
"I hadn't done anything, so I didn't understand why I needed to identify myself," Laurent said.
Body camera footage from officer Mathew McNichol showed the interaction. The department claims McNichol repeatedly asked Laurent for her driver's license. Even telling her if she refused, she would be arrested.
McNichol eventually pulled Laurent, who said she she is five months pregnant, out of her car and handcuffed her. The police report states another officer got into a confrontation with Hardy, where he was forced to pull out and point his taser at Hardy.
In the video you can hear Laurent say, "I'm pregnant."
Laurent said Nichol forced her to the ground and put his knee in her back.
"He continued to put me in the back of a hot patrol car with the windows up. I told him I couldn't breathe; I was coughing, I was gagging," she said. "He said sure you can and slammed the door on me."
Laurent was charged with resisting an officer without violence. Laurent was also arrested for an active warrant out of Palm Beach County for failure to appear, driving while license cancelled, giving a false name upon being arrested or detained. Hardy was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer.
Community activist Bryce Graham said a formal complaint was made, and the incident is being investigated.
"We are asking that the Boca Raton Police Department conduct a thorough and transparent investigation," he said.
Laurent said she wants the results of the investigation released to the community at large.
Scripps Only Content 2023