Pregnant woman accused of theft tased by off-duty deputy

- She is nearly ready to give birth and was tased twice. That woman is speaking to FOX 26 about her encounter with law enforcement.

Ashley Brown, 29, is a mother of two with a baby girl on the way. She went inside the Academy Sports + Outdoors store located on I-45 and West Road. When she came out, Ashley had an encounter with a Harris County Sheriff's deputy that was caught on video and has left many outraged.

The incident happened on Friday, January 4.  Ashley went to buy a shirt for her son at Academy. She says she left a pair of pants she didn’t have enough money for at the counter and left with the shirt she bought. Ashely says she was stopped outside by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy working security.

“I let her know from the time I walked out the door, when she reached for my hand to put them behind my back I told 'her ma’am I’m not going to put my hands behind my back. I'm 8 1/2 months pregnant, but I will walk back in the store with you.' She told me 'put your hands behind your back you’re resisting arrest.'“

The deputy claims she was hit by Ashley with her purse. However, Ashley says that happened when the deputy pulled on her. Next thing Ashley knew she was being tased.

Her aunt caught part of the incident on her cellphone. You can hear the off-duty deputy telling Ashley to put her hands behind her back, while Ashley is screaming out that she is pregnant. Ashley's aunt Kizzy Winfrey tells us that later another deputy came and leaned against her niece while she was on the floor.

Ashley was brought to the hospital and claims there was difficulties finding her babies heart beat. She was eventually discharged, but spent the weekend in jail. Ashley says the judge dismissed her case. “So all this for nothing. You tasered me to get me here to say 'dismissed'. For nothing, like what if something would’ve happened to my baby? What if something would’ve happened to me?“

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office issued this statement:

"On Jan. 4 at approximately 11:47 a.m., a female Harris County Sheriff's Office deputy working an extra job at the Academy store at 10375 N. Freeway was alerted to a possible shoplifting suspect. The deputy and the store manager approached the female suspect after she exited the store, and the deputy instructed the woman to come back inside the store. According to the deputy, the suspect refused to comply and attempted to leave. The suspect physically resisted the deputy, striking her in the head with a purse and pulling away from her grasp. After efforts to physically restrain the suspect were unsuccessful, the deputy deployed her Taser, which allowed the deputy to gain control of the suspect. EMS was called to the scene, and the suspect, Ashley Brown, age 29, was arrested on a charge of theft. She was found to be in possession of stolen clothing valued at $69.98. As with all use-of-force incidents, this case will be reviewed to determine whether the deputy followed the appropriate policies and procedures."

Academy Sports + Outdoors also sent us a statement saying:

“Academy Sports + Outdoors regularly contracts with trained off-duty law enforcement officers to provide safety and security within our stores.  We are cooperating with local law enforcement on this matter.”

Ashley denies the claim that she took the pants, saying they were left on the counter at checkout. A quick look into her past shows six previous convictions for theft. She did admit to us that she has priors but in this incident was innocent.

As for Ashley and her family, they want one thing.

“We just want justice because I felt like that was wrong the way they did it. She could’ve dealt with it another way. She could’ve handled it another way. She didn’t have to taser her like that,” said her aunt Kizzy.

Ashley has an ultrasound and doctor appointment later this week to make sure her baby girl is doing OK.

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