Officials with the Rio Vista Police Department in California have released footage from a traffic stop showing an officer body-slam a Black woman to the ground.
According to KCRA, the stop occurred on May 5 when a car with four people was pulled over due to suspended registration. Police detained all of the passengers in the vehicle when they refused to exit, preventing the officers from towing the car.
One of the passengers, Tyrone Clayton Jr., said he had proper documentation for his registration, but the officers refused to look at it. He then called his relatives to come to the scene in order to record the incident on their cell phones for their records.
“Just being pulled over, I fear for my life every time as an African-American in Rio Vista,” Clayton told the news station.
Clayton’s stepsister, Cherish Thomas, 31, and his stepmother, Deshaunna Payne, arrived on the scene and began recording on their cell phones.
“I have four kids in that car,” Payne said. “I wanted to make sure they were OK.”
In videos recorded by the family, one of the officers, who has not yet been named, picks up Cherish Thomas and slams her to the ground. Her feet are seen flailing in the air before she hits the ground head-first.
Police Chief Dan Dailey told KCRA Thomas and Payne were obstructing the investigation and became combative. Officers claimed Thomas pushed one of them, while Payne tried to strike another officer.
“(The) officer tackled her to the ground in order to gain control of her while his partner stepped in to take Deshaunna Payne into custody,” Dailey said in a news release.
However, Thomas said she never attacked an officer or acted combatively during the stop.
“What can I do at this point? He’s a police officer. And I’m [120 pounds],” Thomas KCRA. “So what am I going to do? Fight him? No.”
Meanwhile, Payne said she only began going after the officer when she saw her daughter on the ground.
“I wasn’t trying to attack them. He slammed my baby,” Payne added. “I went in mother mode to protect my child.”
Thomas went to the hospital on Monday, saying the encounter with the officer left her with headaches, sore legs and arms.
“I was scared. I’m not going to lie. Because at the end of the day, that’s a police officer, and they can do what they want to do,” she said.
Dailey said the department launched an internal investigation to determine if the officer used excessive force during the stop.
According to KCRA two days after the stop, the department released eight body cam videos from the incident.
Thomas and Payne, who were charged with resisting arrest and obstructing an investigation, are now seeking justice.
“I want to see the same aggressive action that he took with my child done to him. Yes, I would like to see him fired,” Payne said.
People on social media were disgusted by the video and demanded the officer be held accountable.
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