Tallahassee, FL-Police officers sometimes lose their patience with people they detain, but a Tallahassee woman says she was the victim of police brutality when she was arrested for an alleged DUI in August and there is video footage to prove it.
The video footage, obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat, shows two male officers slamming a slight woman’s head against the truck of a patrol car and then throwing her to the ground where her already injured face is then smashed into the pavement.
The woman, 44 year-old Christina West was placed under arrest for suspicion of driving while intoxicated after she accelerated her car, hit a stop sign, a light pole, and then slammed her vehicle into the master bedroom of a home in residential Tallahassee neighborhood. There was no one in the home at the time.
West failed a few field sobriety tests and refused to take a breathalyzer so she was placed into the back of the patrol car. While in the back she changed her mind, and told police she would take the breath test, but she angered officers once they realized she had slipped her wrists out of the handcuffs.
When the two officers took West out of the back of the patrol car, the dashcam of another patrol car also on the scene, caught the officers ramming her face onto the trunk of the car, and then shoving her to the ground. One of the officers placed his knee on her buttocks and another officer held her head down with his foot.
West can be heard saying, “I think you broke my right cheek.”
With one officer responding, “You’re fine.”
West, however was not fine, she suffered broken orbital bone and her right swelled shut.
West was taken to a local hospital after she was booked at the police station where she allegedly got into an altercation with a nurse.
Police charged her with driving under the influence and several counts of battery on a police officer, but the video shows who the real batterers are; two Tallahassee police officers.
Now the Tallahassee police have launched an internal investigation and State Attorney Willie Meggs has vowed to do something about the brutal arrest.
“’I am extremely upset,’ Meggs told the Democrat, “This is a very disturbing situation to me, and I’m dealing with it.”
Meggs has dropped the battery charges but still hasn’t decided if he will pursue the DUI charges.
Fred Conrad, West’s attorney said, “I was shocked to see this. I would never have expected that out of my police department. By and large, most of my officers that I deal with at the Tallahassee Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office are all professional and good cops…”
Conrad said he plans to file a lawsuit against the city, “And I can say I intend to do it relentlessly. I intend to make the police department pay for this. This is wrong. And they need to pay for it.”
Tallahassee Police Chief Dennis Jones released a statement saying, “Our job is to serve and protect and that includes victims and suspects. We regret that Ms. West was injured.”
People can act irrationally when arrested for DUI, but there is no excuse for the brutality of Tallahassee police in this instance.