Brittany Martin, the pregnant Black activist who was sentenced to four years in prison for her behavior towards police during a racial justice protest, said she’s currently unwell and also worried she could end up having a premature birth as a result of incarceration stress.
According to NBC News, Martin, 34, was handed out the prison sentence in May after she was found guilty of breaching the peace in a high and aggravated manner. The charges against Martin stemmed from her verbal interaction with police officers during a 2020 protest over George Floyd’s killing.
Martin is due to give birth in November. But the expectant mother said she’s having pains in her back, hip, and joint, adding that she’s also experiencing premature contractions. Martin also said the pains are aggravating as she gets closer to her due date.
The expectant mother had to receive medical attention on Wednesday after experiencing painful contractions. Her sister told the news outlet that medical officials informed Martin that she was suffering from dehydration and starting to dilate.
“I’m praying that I at least hold her until my 38th week. I just want her to be fully developed,” Martin, who is being held at the Camille Graham Correctional Center in Columbia, South Carolina, told NBC News during a phone call.
Martin said giving birth prematurely will take a negative toll on her. In 2018, her four-month-old child died of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Her 18-year-old son also died of gun violence this year.
“I’m not trying to go through another loss,” said Martin. “I would love to come home to my children. I just lost my baby. I just lost my oldest child this year. I haven’t had any peace.”
Martin said her incarceration and death of her son have also taken a toll on her partner. “Since we have lost our oldest child this year he has lost his mind,” she said. “He has lost himself. He has lost the kids. He has lost me. He’s just not the man I’ve known him to be.”
“Death does a lot to different families, and it’s been a year of tragedy for my family,” Martin added.
Inmate records reportedly show that Martin has had to be taken to a medical facility on 11 different occasions.
And besides her medical condition, Martin claims an officer attacked her, adding that she suffered bruises and eye injuries as a result of the assault. A South Carolina Department of Corrections spokesperson, Chrysti Shain, said an investigation has since been launched into her assault allegation. But prison officials said she sustained the eye injury after she and other inmates got into a fight.
The expectant mother also claimed prison officials have been constantly harassing her because of her dreadlocks. The South Carolina Department of Corrections does not allow inmates to have that hairstyle in its prisons. Martin said she was put in solitary confinement as a result of her dreadlocks.
“This is my natural hair. Why would I cut my hair?” she said. “This is against my religious rights, my civil and my human rights.”
Shain said Martin’s hairstyle violated the prison’s inmate grooming policy. But she refuted her solitary confinement claims.
“She previously has been in restricted housing for disciplinary convictions, but that still allows for out-of-cell time and showers,” Shain wrote in an email to NBC News. “She is currently single-celled and it’s my understanding that she prefers that.”
In the first week of September, The Associated Press reported that Martin’s four-year prison sentence was going to be reconsidered.