An Indiana man trying to drive his pregnant wife to the hospital says he was unlawfully pulled over and arrested, causing him to miss his daughter’s birth.
Recently released dashcam footage obtained by the Northwest Indiana Times shows the encounter as it happened and the couple says it’s taken more than three years to have the husband’s arrest record cleared.
The incident happened in January 2012 when Dana and James Reiner were pulled over by Hebron police while driving to the hospital.
“I honestly thought, ‘Is this really happening?’” said Dana Reiner. “It's kind of like one of those pinch myself am I dreaming, because this can’t possibly be happening.”
The Chesterton, Indiana, woman was in labor and told her husband not to stop the car.
“I kept telling him, ‘Don’t pull over, don’t pull over. My water’s already broken,’” she said. “’Let’s just go to the hospital. They’ll follow us there. We’ll work it out there.’”
James Reiner decided to call 911 and continued driving. He can be heard on audio from the 911 call telling a dispatcher what was happening, then telling his wife he needed to pull over.
“Ok. My water broke. So, do what you gotta do,” she’s heard saying.
Dashcam footage from that night shows James Reiner getting out of their Lincoln Town car and immediately getting to the ground as an officer yells.
“The police officer was screaming at me,” he said. “Sirens were left on but it sounded like there was a possibility of me getting shot. So, I rolled down onto the ground and at that time he ran over to me at gunpoint and put his knee to my back and cuffed me as I lay on the ground.”
While James Reiner explains to the officers what happened, one can be heard telling him, “I don’t care. You pull over. You’re going to jail now.”
Dana Reiner also claims her baby was threatened when she got out of the car to try to explain what had happened.
“I remember looking down so [the officer] would look and that’s when I saw the laser beam on my stomach,” she said. “He said, ’I don’t care, get back in the car.’”
Footage from the scene shows officers calling for an ambulance after Dana Reiner is heard screaming.
She tells the officers the couple was on the phone with 911 and says she asked her husband not to pull over, but an officer says, “It does not work that way.”
At one point, officers are heard threatening to Tase James Reiner while he’s handcuffed on the ground.
James Reiner said he thought when the couple pulled over, they would be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Dana Reiner was eventually taken away in one, but her husband was taken to the police station for allegedly resisting arrest and fleeing the scene.
Three minutes after she arrived at the hospital, Dana Reiner said her daughter was born. The baby had her umbilical cord wrapped around her twice, Dana Reiner said.
“[The doctor] said if I had her on the side of the road with people who didn’t know what they were doing, she wouldn’t be alive today,” she said.
But James Reiner missed the birth entirely.
“That was the most heart-wrenching part of being booked,” he said. “I crumbled inside.”
James Reiner was never charged with any crime and the couple was never cited for any traffic violation.
The officer involved in the incident is now working for the Portage Police Department, officials said. The Portage Police Department referred any questions surrounding the incident to Hebron Police, but they weren’t immediately available to comment.
The Reiners said they tried to press criminal charges against the officer and police department two years ago, but instead, they’re now pushing to have James Reiner’s arrest record expunged, according to his attorney Mike Loomis.
They hope their story helps bring changes in the department.
“We absolutely, 100 percent support law enforcement, but there are some people who don’t belong in that profession,” Dana Reiner said. “There needs to be accountability.”