Goodyear, AZ – A Goodyear police officer is under internal investigation after a cell phone video showed him striking a woman in the head after she resisted his efforts to place her under arrest (video below).
The incident took place at 11:48 a.m. on Thursday, when the Goodyear police officer pulled over an unnamed female driver near Dysart Road and Van Buren Street, the department said in a statement, according to The Arizona Republic.
When the officer told the woman that she was going to be placed under arrest for driving with a suspended driver’s license, “she began to retreat,” the department said.
A silent cell phone video posted to social media by a witness showed the woman sitting in the front seat of her vehicle as she took a swing at the officer.
The woman braced herself by pushing on her open driver’s door and pulled back against the officer's attempt to dislodge her.
The officer then rushed towards the driver, appearing to strike her in the head, then swiftly stepped backwards again and yanked her from the vehicle.
He quickly stripped what appeared to be a bag or purse from the woman’s grasp, tossing it onto the pavement.
The officer dropped her onto her stomach, but also remained focused on the vehicle, where a male passenger was sitting in the passenger seat, the video showed.
The officer dragged her away from the car by her arm as the camera panned away from the front of her vehicle to the point that the male passenger could no longer be seen.
A second later, the officer drew his weapon and pointed it in the direction of the woman’s vehicle from the partial cover of his patrol vehicle hood.
The camera then panned back towards the woman’s car, and showed the male passenger standing outside with his arms raised.
The video did not capture what led up to the altercation, nor what occurred afterwards.
"They need to be able to nonviolently arrest people, they need more training,” the woman’s daughter, Cassandra, told KTVK. “You shouldn't do that to someone. We're all humans."
“She’s a woman. He’s a man,” Cassandra justified. “I don’t know why they treat people like that.
She described the experience as “heartbreaking.”
“I didn't know what he was going to do to her,” Cassandra added. “She was scared for her life. It was really outrageous. It shouldn't have went that far. It was ridiculous.”
It was unclear whether Cassandra was at the scene at the time of the incident.
The Goodyear Police Department said it is conducting an investigation into the altercation, including a review of bodycam footage.
“When a conflict with a suspect occurs during an arrest, this presents a challenging and often dangerous situation for the arresting officer,” the department said in a statement to KTVK. “The top priority of the Goodyear Police Department is the safety of the public as well as our officers.”
“When a situation such as this occurs, it can appear frightening to passersby who don’t understand the full context of the situation,” the agency added. “Once our investigation is complete and all the facts are in, we will be better able to provide accurate information as to the details of this arrest. We appreciate your patience as we conduct our thorough investigation.”
You can watch the passerby’s cellphone footage in the video below: