Warning: The video below may be disturbing to some viewers.
RIO VISTA — A mother is outraged and a use of force investigation is underway after cell phones recorded a woman being body slammed to the ground by a Rio Vista police officer.
It all began as a traffic stop a block away from home for a couple of siblings and a brother-in-law. They explained to FOX40 they were just coming back from a quick Sunday evening errand.
“Went to go to the store to pick up some sour cream and some cheese for our tacos,” said Monaisha Thomas.
They say the officer who approached the car appeared irritated from the start.
“Like he came to do something and he wanted it done, so he’s gonna get it done,” Thomas told FOX40. “I felt like he was hoping that we weren’t complying.”
Rio Vista Police Chief Dan Dailey is responding at this time with a written statement, explaining the officer told the occupants of the car that it had suspended registration and was going to be towed away.
“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,” said Mea Thomas.
Mea Thomas was the driver. Police told FOX40 she refused to exit the car.
Officers detained her two passengers then another car pulled up the scene.
In that other car was Mea Thomas’ mother, Deshaunna Payne, and Deshaunna’s other daughter, Cherish Thomas. They both got out and started recording cell phone video.
At the same time, detainee Tyrone Clayton Jr. was recording 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.
Deshaunna Payne tells it much differently.
“He’s aggressing her. He’s walking towards her,” she said. “Her hands weren’t cuffed. She didn’t have nothing in her hand. He had slapped the phone out her hand.”
The officer then slammed Cherish Thomas to the ground.
“That’s a woman. You’re double, triple her size. I mean, what was the need for the use of force?” Clayton said.
Cherish Thomas was at home but asleep during FOX40’s visit with the family. Relatives say she 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,” Deshaunna Payne said. “He’s three times bigger than her. That was unnecessary.”
Cherish Thomas, Deshaunna Payne, Mea Thomas and Mychal Ivy were all arrested and later released. Cherish was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest, obstructing or delaying an investigation and public intoxication. The other charges were listed in a press release sent to FOX40 by the Rio Vista Police Department.
The family has an attorney and said they are planning to fight the charges they’re facing. They also want the officer who slammed Cherish to face disciplinary action.
In the release, police say body camera footage from the officers at the scene will be sent “within the next couple of days.” An internal investigation into the officer’s use of force will also be conducted.
Rio Vista’s police chief says the officer who tackled Cherish has not been placed on leave.