Imka Pope, Homeless Woman Forced to Give Birth in King County Jail, Will Finally Get Her Day In Court

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Cold, alone, and in the grip of an intense psychotic episode, Imka Pope squatted down in a King County Jail cell and delivered a baby boy onto the concrete. Fourteen years later, with the memories still fresh of how she'd told the guards she was giving birth, but been ignored, Pope's lawsuit against her former captors is finally moving forward.

As the P-I reports, Pope, a chronically homeless and mentally-ill woman, had been arrested and taken to jail for trespassing in November 1997 after being found sleeping at a Metro bus shelter.

There, the jail registered her under the name "Lisa Enigma" because she was supposedly incoherent and didn't tell anyone her real name. One officer, however, had noted that she looked pregnant.

Court records say that six days into her incarceration, Pope began having labor pains. She called for help from the guards using the cell's intercom system, but no one believed her story. One guard peered in, saw her squatting, and asked her what she was doing.

She told him she was giving birth. He walked away.

Soon small cries could be heard and guards finally came in.

Now Pope is suing King County; the current and former Director of the County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention, Reed Holtgeerts and Arthur Wallenstein, respectively; and 14 other DAJD staffers.

On Thursday Pope's lawyers argued that the reason for the 14-year delay in filing the suit was because of Pope's mental condition (she suffers from well-documented schizoaffective disorder).

Judge Ricardo Martinez agreed, waived the statute of limitations, and sent the case to trial.

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