Police in Rio Vista, Calif., released body cam footage Tuesday of a traffic stop that ended with an officer body slamming a woman who wanted to know what was happening with family members detained during a traffic stop.
The Rio Vista Police Department moved quickly after cell phone footage of the body slam went viral, releasing eight body camera videos of the traffic stop just two days after it happened, reports the Sacramento Bee.
The confrontation took place Sunday night, after Rio Vista officers pulled over a car with expired tags. All four of the car’s passengers were detained, SF Gate reports, after they refused to get out of the car, preventing officers from impounding it. As the situation escalated, one of the passengers called their family to come to the scene and record the officers.
Responding to the call, Deshaunna Payne and her daughter, Cherish Thomas, pulled up in a second car. Body cam footage from one officer show Payne and Thomas yelling at officers, demanding to know why some of the first car’s occupants had been arrested. They later go back into their cars briefly, emerging with their cell phones out to record the interaction.
From the Sacramento Bee:
As they start to approach the scene of the traffic stop again, the first officer warns them not to come closer.
“Don’t come close to me,” the officer is heard saying in one of the videos. “You ain’t coming over by our cars right now.”
Cherish Thomas responds, “I’m not by you,” as she walks alongside the officer toward the traffic stop.
Video from each officer’s bodycam shows that the first officer grabs Cherish Thomas at this point, holding her from behind as she appears to attempt to turn back toward the traffic stop.
The struggle goes in and out of frame on the second officer’s camera in the moments before the alleged slam, and the struggle itself obscures most of the activity from view on the involved officer’s camera. Payne can be held yelling, “You’re manhandling my daughter.”
After a few seconds of grabbing Cherish Thomas, who is restrained with her hands behind her back but no handcuffs on, the first officer lifts the woman and appears to slam her to the ground with force.
Payne, having just seen her daughter slammed to the ground, rushes toward her, screaming at the cops to get off her daughter. A scuffle ensues between Payne and one of the officers; his body cam then goes out.
Payne, Cherish Thomas, Mea Thomas (the driver of the car that was pulled over) and Mychal Ivy were arrested and charged with a litany of charges, including resisting arrest, obstructing or delaying an investigation, felony vandalism, and public intoxication.
On Monday, Cherish Thomas denied police statement saying she had pushed an officer.
“What can I do at this point? He’s a police officer. And I’m [120 pounds],” Thomas told KCRA TV. “So what am I going to do? Fight him? No.”
Payne also denied being aggressive towards the Rio Vista officers.
“I wasn’t trying to attack them. He slammed my baby,” Payne told the local news outlet. “I went in mother mode to protect my child.”
While Rio Vista Police Chief Dan Dailey said Monday the department had opened an internal investigation into an excessive force complaint, none of the officers involved in the traffic stop have been named, nor did he indicate that any had been placed on leave.
Thomas, who went to the hospital Monday, told KCRA TV the arresting officer slammed her head into the ground during the arrest, and she has suffered headaches, sore legs, and arms since.
“I was scared, I’m not going to lie,” she said. “Because at the end of the day, that’s a police officer, and they can do what they want to do.”