The Rio Vista, California, police department is looking into an altercation where an officer body-slammed a woman during what should have been a routine traffic stop.
On Sunday evening, officers stopped a car with four people inside due to suspended registration. Officers claim that they detained the passengers because they refused to get out of the vehicle, which prevented officers from towing the car.
The family meanwhile said that they had proper documentation, but officers refused to look at it. That prompted one of the passengers, Tyrone Clayton Jr., to call his relatives so that they could record what was happening.
“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, 31-year-old Cherish Thomas, and his stepmother Deshaunna Payne responded to his call, and showed up to begin taking video.
“I have four kids in that car,” Payne said. “I wanted to make sure they were OK.”
Dailey claimed that the two women were obstructing the investigation and became combative. Officers claimed that Thomas pushed one of them, while Payne tried to strike another officer.
That was when, according to Dailey, the officer “tackled” Thomas to the ground.
“(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.
What the video shows, however, is the officer physically pick up Thomas as she flailed her legs, before slamming her to the ground.
The family insists that they were not aggressive toward officers.
“What can I do at this point? He’s a police officer. And I’m [120 pounds],” Thomas said. “So what am I going to do? Fight him? No.”
“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 that 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.
Both Thomas and Payne were charged with resisting arrest and obstructing an investigation.
Dailey said that a third car also showed up with more family members who were “confrontational and uncooperative,” to the point where officers had to request backup from Solano and Sacramento County sheriff offices.
Two other family members, who were also detained at the stop, were charged with felony vandalism for trying to get out of a patrol car by kicking the door and window.
As for Payne, she and her family are 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.