Three years ago, Dana Reiner gave birth to her daughter, Abigail, minutes after arriving at Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Crown Point, IN. The baby was in trouble. She had turned around and her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. Doctors told Dana if she had given birth on the side of the road, the baby likely would not have survived. But when her baby was struggling, and Dana needed her husband most, he wasn't there. He was in a jail cell.
On August 28, 2013 James and Dana Reiner drove pass Hebron Police sergeants Anthony Dandurand and Travis Thomas' cruiser. He gave the cop car a wide berth since the officers were completing a traffic stop. He was rushing to get Dana to the hospital to give birth to their second daughter when he saw the red and blue lights in his rearview mirror. James called 911 dispatch to explain the situation to the officers and turned on his hazard lights. Officers Thomas and Dandurand, however, continued to pursue the pair. After a mile Reiner pulled over and opened his car door, as the window wasn't working. He tried to shouted to the officer over the sirens that his wife was in labor, but they weren't interested.
"I will shoot you, you piece of sh*t! Get on the ground!" One of the officers can be heard yelling in the video. Reiner's head was shoved into the sidewalk as Dana cried out "I'm in labor." She said when she got out of the car to show that her water had broken one of the officers pointed a gun at her belly.
"I thought 'OK', I'm not going to let them shoot my kid," she told NWI Times. "I got back in the car."
It took the officers 15 minutes to realize there actually was a medical emergency and another 20 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. Dana and James pleaded for help, but the officers weren't interested. Instead, they can be heard in the video discussing how to erase the dashboard camera footage. During the stop, James said the officers threatened to taze him after he had been subdued for a while.
"You will be in jail tonight," Dandurand told James. "And you will not be there when your child is born." True to his word, James spent the night in Porter County Jail, missing the birth of his daughter. He was booked with a probable cause felony resisting law enforcement, but no formal charges were ever filed. When asked why the couple was pulled over, one of them replied "I wanted to get stupid."
The Reiners sued the Hebron police department. They said they were not speeding and that the stop was unlawful. Dandurand said he pursued the couple for five miles, but reversed course when the dashboard camera told a different story. Dana said she was devastated that her husband missed his daughter's first few moments of life.
"When I think about the fact that James, who is a wonderful man, was deprived of that — it makes me sad. And it makes me sad that Abby missed out on that, too," Dana told NWI Times. "They missed out on that very first, that bond." Both officers now works for different police departments in the area. The city of Hebron settled a civil lawsuit with the Reiners after a U.S. District magistrate ruled the officers violated the couple's Fourth Amendment rights.