A video has been released which shows the shocking moment a pregnant black woman is pushed to the ground in an 'unlawful arrest' by police in Barstow, California.

The footage, filmed from the body-cam of the police officer, shows the officer ask then eight-months pregnant Charlena Michelle Cooks for her name only for her to refuse, saying that she wants to check he has the right first.

The officer initially says he will give her two minutes to check, before he and another officer attempt to handcuff her. Cooks tells the two of them "Do not touch me, I'm pregnant," as the two wrestle her to the ground. The video then shows her lying on the ground sobbing and unable to get up.

The officers help her up and escort her to their police car, telling her that they are charging her with resisting arrest, a charge that was later dropped. Cooks went on to give birth to a healthy baby girl.

The video was posted online by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU), who claim that the unlawful arrest of Cooks was a civil rights violation as in California you are not required by law to show your ID to a police officer.

ACLU states beneath the YouTube video:

In California, as long as the request for ID is not reasonably related to the scope of the stop, you have the right to refuse to show your ID to law enforcement except in the following cases:

  • If you're driving and pulled over, you need to show ID.
  • If you have been arrested or booked, show your ID.

The incident came about after a driving dispute outside a local school between Cooks and another woman, who was not asked for ID.

ACLU states: "Notice that the officer does not ask the first witness, who is white, for her ID, but he does ask the second witness, who is African American, for hers. What role does race play in this difference in treatment?"

Barstow Police Department has launched an internal investigation into the incident, which highlights ongoing concern of excessive force and brutality employed by US police against minorities, which has led to violent protests.

Unrest erupted in Ferguson, Missouri after the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in August 2014.

After the July 2014 death of African-American Eric Garner, who was put in a choke-hold by police, a grand jury decision not to indict the officers involved led to nationwide protests against police brutality.