A family has accused police in the Bay Area city of Rio Vista, California, of excessive force and abuse of power after their loved one was body-slammed at the hands of an officer during a traffic stop gone wrong.
According to CBS13, a physical confrontation between police, a daughter and her mother ended with the arrests of several family members on the evening of May 5.
Deshunna Payne arrived at the scene after she got a call that her daughter had been pulled over for driving with expired tags. The group was stopped a few blocks from their home, so Payne showed up with her other daughter Cherish to see what had happened.
The mother said she was met with rudeness, however.
“A lot of questions [the officer] didn’t like and he didn’t want to answer and he was very aggressive,” said Payne, who questioned authorities about why all four occupants of the car were being detained.
The situation only escalated from there as family members tried filming the tense encounter, ignoring the officers’ demands to stop.
Footage from the incident shows one of the officers struggling to subdue Cherish as he tries pinning her arms behind her back.
“Oh, now you manhandling my daughter and you shouldn’t be touching her,” Payne says in the video.
Seconds later, the officer lifts the young lady off her feet before slamming her to the ground, prompting Payne to rush to her defense. The frustrated mother screamed for the officer to “get off my f—–g daughter” as she was still being restrained by another cop.
“It made me go into mom protective mode,” she told CBS13. “You have officers abusing authority whether it’s writing a simple traffic ticket to excessive force. It makes no sense it’s unnecessary.”
Former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinnis was shown the video by CBS13 but said he could not give the station a definitive opinion on whether excessive force was used, arguing that all footage, including body camera video, must be reviewed in order to put the officer’s actions into context.
“The critical fundamental question is what is the basis upon which that decision was made? Was it improper? Was it unreasonable?” McGinnis said.
The Rio Vista Police Department later issued a statement detailing the events of Friday’s incident.
“On Sunday May 5, 2019, at around 7:43 PM, Rio Vista Police Officers stopped a car for registration that had been suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles for two years,” it read. After confirming the suspended registration, the officers informed the driver, identified as Mea Thomas, that her vehicle would be towed. Thomas told officers that they could not tow the car and refused to exit the car.”
From there, authorities said they managed to detain two passengers without incident before a second car with other relatives arrived to the traffic stop. Police wrote that two females, Deshaunna Payne, and Cherish Thomas, “began confronting officers” and refused repeated demands to stay at their vehicle.
“Deshaunna Payne and Cherise Thomas again approached both officers and refused several commands to return to their car and stop interfering with the original vehicle stop,” according to the statement. “They repeatedly approached the officers and attempted to push past them to get near the car and people originally detained in the vehicle stop.”
At one point, police said Cherish Thomas pushed past an officer in order to get to the original stop. That’s when the officer ordered her to place her hands behind her back, which she refused and tried pulling away. As the cop struggled to the young woman’s arms under control, Payne walked over and attempted to “strike him.”
“As Cherish continued to resist and refused to comply, 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,” authorities said.
Meanwhile, Mea Thomas and passenger Michal Ivy, who were already detained in a patrol car, reportedly tried to break free by kicking the windows and doors of the vehicle, causing damage.
In all, four family members were arrested: Mea Thomas for resisting arrest, obstructing or delaying an investigation and felony vandalism; Michal Ivy for felony vandalism and violation of probation; Deshaunna Payne for resisting arrest and obstructing or delaying an investigation; and Cherish Thomas for resisting arrest, obstructing or delaying an investigation and public intoxication.”