Recorded on police body cam video arresting an innocent woman for no justifiable reason before beating her unconscious, two California sheriff’s deputies were recently named in a federal lawsuit accusing them of violating the woman’s civil rights. The officers also made several false statements after the arrest in order to justify their actions.
On August 6, 2020, Nakia Porter was driving back home to Orangevale, California, with her 61-year-old father, her two young daughters, and her 4-year-old niece after a family trip to Oakland. According to police dash cam video, Porter pulled over at a Stop sign along an empty road in order to switch seats with her father.
Noticing that Porter’s vehicle had a front license plate from Maryland and the back plate was from California, Solano County Sheriff’s Deputies Dalton McCampbell and Lisa McDowell hit their lights before approaching Porter with their guns drawn. Porter immediately explained that she had stopped the vehicle in order to switch drivers, but Deputy McDowell ordered her to return to the driver’s seat.
As Porter complied, Deputy McCampbell ordered McDowell to detain Porter despite the fact that she had not committed any crime. After slamming Porter against her vehicle, the deputies began cuffing Porter’s wrists behind her back.
When Porter noted that the deputies were not reading her Miranda rights, they continued arresting her without telling Porter her rights. Speaking to the police body camera, Porter stated, “They are approaching me and putting me on the car with force. So those that are listening, I am not resisting arrest.”
While escorting Porter to their patrol car, the deputies suddenly appeared to tackle her to the ground before repeatedly striking her head, back, and abdomen. Porter could be heard praying, “Bless me, God.”
McCampbell threatened to fire his Taser at Porter, who was no longer moving. The deputies ceased the assault after they realized that they had knocked Porter unconscious.
In the video, McCampbell dragged Porter’s unconscious body to the back of his patrol car. Porter reportedly woke up in the back of the patrol car approximately five minutes after the deputies knocked her unconscious.
After detaining Porter’s father for no apparent reason and placing him in handcuffs, McCampbell finally confirmed that Porter was the registered owner of the vehicle. Although Porter requested transportation to a hospital, the deputies denied her request while making several false statements to medical personnel and other law enforcement officers at the scene.
“Deputies McCampbell and McDowell denied the request, continuing to lie to the paramedics by minimizing the assault and the injuries they had inflicted on Ms. Porter,” the court filing said.
McDowell falsely stated to an EMT that Porter was only unconscious for five seconds. McCampbell falsely stated to the same EMT that Porter was unconscious for “no more than 20 seconds.”
McCampbell falsely claimed that Porter was able to walk to the patrol car with his assistance. But according to the video, McCampbell dragged her motionless body to the back of the patrol car.
McCampbell also made many false statements to another officer at the scene by claiming that Porter initiated the traffic stop, was noncompliant, and refused to get back in the vehicle. McCampbell accused Porter of attacking McDowell before punching him in the face, but the video never shows Porter striking either of them.
Porter was jailed overnight on suspicion of resisting arrest, but she was never charged with a crime.
On Wednesday, Porter’s attorney, Yasin Almadani, filed a federal lawsuit accusing the deputies of violating state and federal civil rights statutes by engaging in “unlawful seizure, assault and excessive force.” According to the lawsuit, the deputies repeatedly punched Porter in the head and the stomach while kneeling on her back and pulling out portions of her hair.
The lawsuit also accused the deputies of making false statements in their arrest reports, including the length of time that Porter was unconscious and false accusations of fighting back against the deputies. No criminal charges have currently been filed against either of the deputies.