“There was a barrage of insults — desecration of my integrity, my character, my name,” she was quoted as saying. “I am a black woman in black skin. So, don’t tell me how I don’t appreciate the sensitivity of a woman and the rights of women.”
Moments after news broke that Ms. Jones would not be prosecuted, lawyers from the firm White Arnold & Dowd, who had taken up Ms. Jones’s case, issued a statement: “We are gratified the district attorney evaluated the matter and chose not to proceed with a case that was neither reasonable nor just.”
Despite the angry national reaction, many in Alabama and Pleasant Grove, a city of 10,000 people where the shooting occurred, defended the grand jury’s decision, saying that they agreed with the laws protecting the unborn and that women who endanger them should face legal consequences. But the prosecutor’s decision was welcomed by reproductive rights advocates in Birmingham.
Shante Wolf-Sisson, a founder of a health and wellness organization called BLK Pearl, said the decision gave her hope for women’s rights in Alabama, adding, “We could use a lot of hope right now.”
Both prosecutors and the police have sought to distance themselves from the charges in the wake of the national outcry. Police officers in Pleasant Grove arrested Ms. Jones’s co-worker, Ebony Jemison, after the Dec. 4 shooting, but made statements to reporters that Ms. Jones was to blame for the fight and that her actions would be presented to the grand jury to determine whether she should be charged with a crime.
“When a five-month-pregnant woman initiates a fight and attacks another person, I believe some responsibility lies with her as to any injury to her unborn child,” Lt. Danny Reid of the Pleasant Grove Police Department said at the time. “That child is dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations.”