A video that appears to show a sheriff's deputy restraining and then striking a woman while she cried out that she was pregnant has prompted an investigation by the sheriff's office in Hunt County, east of Dallas.
The incident occurred last month, but the video was posted to YouTube on April 4.
The woman in the video has been identified by multiple news outlets as Deanna Jo Robinson, a 38-year-old Quinlan resident. Robinson was nine months pregnant on March 4 when Hunt County Child Protective Services investigators, along with at least one Hunt County sheriff’s deputy, went to her house to take custody of Robinson’s 1-year-old son, according to media reports. In the video, it is impossible to confirm which law enforcement agencies the officers work for. Robinson is mostly obscured, but appears to be restrained by two officers. Near the end of the video, one of the officers strikes Robinson and appears to be pulling his fist back for another punch when the video ends. Robinson’s arrest report at the Hunt County Jail identifies her arresting officer as “Robinson HCSO.”
Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks released the following statement in response to the video: “I have become aware of an internet allegation accusing one of my deputies of improper actions. I have initiated an administrative investigation to determine if any policy violations occurred. Public confidence and trust in the Sheriff’s Office is a high priority for me and we take all allegations of misconduct seriously. We will allow the investigation to run its course in a manner which is fair to all concerned and we will make no assumptions or guesses until all facts are determined. Additional information will be released as appropriate and the results of our investigation will be made public upon conclusion.”
According to Hunt County court records, CPS had contacted Robinson on March 3 to let her know they would be taking custody of her 1-year-old son. Records and affidavits reveal one prior incident in December of 2014 that CPS investigated regarding Robinson, her partner Joe Llenas, Sr., and four children who were living with Robinson and Llenas.
Hunt County CPS spokesperson Marissa Gonzalez declined comment on the March 4 incident, other than to confirm that there were four children in Robinson’s household that are “in temporary protective custody” as of Monday.
Meeks said Robinson was arrested on March 4 for one count each of assaulting a public servant ($15,000 bond), interference with child custody ($1,500 bond), and resisting arrest ($4,000 bond). She was released on bond on March 9. Meeks said he intends to conduct a press conference, possibly as early as Wednesday, concerning the incident.
Multiple requests for comment from Robinson were not returned as of press time Monday night.
Slinkard and Kellar write for The Herald Banner in Greenville, Texas.