Twenty-seven-year-old Evon Murray was forced into early labor after a confrontation with an off-duty cop. According to the Washington Post, Murray, who was eight months pregnant, was kicked in the stomach by officer Ambar Pacheco. After the incident, Murray was in “severe pain” and was rushed to the hospital. Within seven minutes, Murray’s son, Joseph Predelus III, was born.
Pacheco, 26, was “arrested and charged with aggravated battery.” Two days later, she was terminated from the Miami Beach police force.
“Due to Ms. Ambar Pacheco’s recent off-duty actions, her employment with the City of North Miami Beach has been terminated effective immediately,” said North Miami Beach Police Chief William Hernandez. Pacheco was still a rookie; she had only been on the force for less than a year and was still in her “probationary period.”
Pacheco’s arrest affidavit does not state the root cause of the altercation, but it does state that Pacheco’s sister had allegedly been “kicked in the face” by Joseph Predelus, 40, the father of Murray’s child.
Though Pacheco said “I saw red and beat the s— out of [Murray],” she later retracted the statement and said she was unsure who she actually kicked.
But Predelus denies assaulting Pacheco’s sister and says that the women may have been drunk when the incident occurred.
“I never did no kicking, nothing. I never touched nobody. All I did was defend my baby mother and a child. To me, I don’t put my hands on women, and that’s how it should be, especially a pregnant woman, too,” he said.
When asked about the incident, Murray said she believes it had been a misunderstanding. She said that while she and Predelus had been walking down the street, they passed Pacheco and her sister. She said they were crying, and that they “thought we were talking about them, which was not true. They got belligerent and tried to jump because they thought I said something.”
If charged, Pacheco could face up to 15 years in prison a fine of $10,000, which is the charge for “assaulting a pregnant woman.” In her arrest affidavit, Murray is listed as “visibly pregnant.”
Though it is unknown whether the assault caused Murray’s early labor, the Mayo Clinic reports that physical injuries can cause premature birth. Though Murray did not comment, Predelus reports that Murray and the baby are healthy and doing well. Neither the Pacheco sisters, nor Mount Sinai Medical Center, where Murray had her baby, were available to comment on the incident.