Newly released police body cam videos and cellphone footage reveal a Rio Vista Police Department officer slamming an unarmed woman to the ground in an apparent act of excessive force. After the officer slapped the cellphone out of the woman’s hand, her mother attempted to record the rest of the incident on her cellphone as another officer detained her.
On Sunday, Mea Thomas, Monaisha Thomas, brother-in-law Tyrone Clayton Jr., and a fourth passenger were reportedly pulled over by California police officers for suspended vehicle registration. Clayton called his stepsister, Cherish Thomas, and his stepmother, Deshaunna Payne, to ask them to record the incident with the Rio Vista police officers for transparency.
According to Rio Vista Police Chief Dan Dailey, Thomas and Payne obstructed the investigation by resisting orders and physically attacking the officers. But according to the videos, Thomas exited the passenger side while recording the officers on her cellphone. As Thomas approached one of the officers, he slapped the cellphone out of her hand before slamming her against the ground with more force than necessary.
With the officer rubbing Thomas’ face into the dirt, Payne attempted to save her as another officer prevented her from interfering.
“I wasn’t trying to attack them. He slammed my baby,” Payne told KCRA. “I went in mother mode to protect my child.”
“That is a very small snippet of video that does not accurately portray the totality of the circumstances,” Rio Vista Police Chief Dailey stated.
On Monday, Thomas reportedly returned home from the hospital after receiving treatment for the officer slamming her head against ground.
“I was scared,” Thomas recalled. “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.”
According to the Rio Vista Police Department, the department is currently conducting an internal investigation into the alleged use of excessive force.