In June 2015, Brittany Walker was six months pregnant when, she says, a St. Louis police officer coerced her into giving him oral sex. She had called the police for help after her estranged husband took the family car, but says the officer who showed up had something different on his mind. "Are you freaky?" he asked. When she bridled, he told her, "Just answer the question."
"No, I'm married," she told him. It didn't seem to matter. Then he indicated that he wanted a blowjob.
She was horrified, she was mortified, but her kids were sleeping in their bedrooms just feet away and she was frightened. "I didn't have it in me to just say, 'Get out,'" she says. "I didn't know how to respond. ... I didn't know if he was going to get upset and flip out about him not getting what he wanted."
It was less than a year after a police officer killed Michael Brown in the streets of Ferguson, and ten months after the fatal of shooting of Vonderrit Myers Jr. in Shaw. "I thought they didn't have a problem with killing people," Walker says of the police. "I honestly thought that if I told him no, he would kill me in the house."
Once he finished, she threw up into a towel. Then she called her mom — who told her, "You have to report it."
She did. She turned over the towel, complete with its DNA evidence.
"A police department spokeswoman issued a news release late Tuesday saying only that the department has started a criminal and internal investigation into a complaint received Saturday regarding an officer’s alleged conduct during a response to a nonemergency call on Friday," the paper reported.
The St. Louis Circuit Attorney declined to press charges. With the officer off the force, that was basically the end of it.
But it wasn't the end for Brittany Walker.
As she details in a new documentary short, she suffered serious depression after the interaction.
At the time, she was 25 years old. She was pregnant with her fifth child and had been told he had Down syndrome. Her marriage was on the rocks. After she told her husband about the incident, he blamed her for calling the cops in the first place.
"I'm a strong-minded person, very strong-willed," Walker tells the RFT. "For someone who isn't as physically and mentally strong as me, I can't imagine them dealing with this. I was contemplating suicide after that. "
As the film details, Walker was subsequently diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma, enduring chemo even while raising five children. She found herself in a domestic violence shelter, trying to obtain housing even while grappling with the emotional trauma she'd experienced.
But her cancer is now in remission, and she says she's pulled herself out of the dark place she was in. (Oh, and her son doesn't have Down syndrome — the cancer led to inaccurate prenatal tests: "He's fine! He's a normal two-year-old.")
Now 28, Walker credits her strong Christian faith for getting her through a nightmarish year. "He built me back up," she says, referring to God. "I was so torn down."
Walker says she spoke numerous times with Internal Affairs and other police officers. But her interview in the documentary was the first time she told her story publicly, and it's only after its release that she agreed to talk to the RFT. She also agreed to let her full name be used, even though it isn't in given in the film — she's left St. Louis, she says, and no longer fears reprisal.
The film's producer is her cousin, Matt Houchin. Based in Minnesota, he says he was horrified to learn what she'd endured. He ended up shooting the ten-minute short last spring and summer.
"I was really sickened when I heard Missy's story," he says, using the family's nickname for Walker.
Houchin obtained a statement from the St. Louis Police. They told him the department had conducted an internal investigation, but took no action — the officer had already resigned.
As for Walker, she's certain that she wasn't the officer's first victim. "He knew exactly what he was doing," she says.
But she's also not holding out hope that the film will spur any action. "He's not going to get in trouble. If that were going to happen, it would have happened by now."
You can watch Houchin's film in its entirety below.