A use of force investigation is underway after a police officer was recorded on cellphone video body-slamming a woman in Rio Vista, California.
The incident began as a routine traffic stop a block away from home for a couple of siblings and a brother-in-law as they were coming back from a Sunday evening errand.
Rio Vista Police Chief Dan Dailey responded with a written statement, explaining the officer told the occupants of the car the vehicle had suspended registration and the car was going to be towed away.
Mea Thomas, who was driving the car, said she didn’t know registration on the car had been suspended.
“Which I’m still trying to figure out how, if I just got the car, and everything was up to date and I just paid for the tags,”
Police say Thomas refused to exit the car and they detained her two passengers.
The officer who approached the car appeared to be irritated from the start, said Monaisha Thomas, who was a passenger in the car.
“Like he came to do something and he wanted it done, so he’s gonna get it done,” Thomas said.
Afterward the passengers were detained, Mea Thomas’ mother, DeShaunna Payne and her Payne’s other daughter, Cherish Thomas, arrived at the scene in another vehicle and began recording the incident on cellphone video.
Tyrone Clayton Jr., who had been detained by police, was also recording the incident from the back seat of the patrol car.
Police say the two women ignored directions to remain with their car and repeatedly tried to push past the officers.
Payne says otherwise.
“He’s aggressing her. He’s walking towards her. Her hands weren’t cuffed. She didn’t have anything in her hand. He had slapped the phone out her hand,” Payne said.
She said the officer slams Cherish Thomas to the ground.
“That’s a woman. You’re double, triple her size. What was the need for the use of force,” said Tyrone Clayton, a passenger who was detained.
Relatives say Cherish Thomas suffered some injuries from the body slam and is sore and tired.
“What doesn’t sit well with me is them saying that I tried to swing on the officer. You slammed my daughter to the ground – dirt, which is hard as concrete – on her face. He’s three times bigger than her. That was unnecessary. Did I get a little bit aggressive? Yes I did. Regardless, how old your child gets, or any of my kids get, when you see them or feel that they are being threatened, you automatically go into mother mode. Protection. You’re going to protect your kid,” Payne said.