SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KTXL) — Video of an officer taking down a popular South Lake Tahoe woman has been widely shared on social media.
The woman who was placed in handcuffs was Carol Christensen, well known around town as “Christmas Carol.” She’s known for frequently waving and smiling at cars passing by.
“She is like one of the most positive people and I think a lot of people aspire to be like that,” said Jessica Barackman, who shot the video of the incident.
The video filmed Tuesday morning begins with Christensen on the ground and a South Lake Tahoe police officer over her.
“When I saw him throw her to the ground, I was so frantic,” Barackman told FOX40. “I just ran and grabbed my phone and ran out.”
“He threw her to the ground. I’m videoing him because I’m going to report him,” Barackman can be heard saying in the video. “That’s insane. She did absolutely nothing wrong.”
South Lake Tahoe police told a different story. They released dashcam video and a written statement in response to the cell phone video.
As it begins, Christensen is in a lane of traffic that is coned off for construction. The officer wants her to go to the sidewalk.
“Move out of the road,” he tells her.
“You’re a naughty boy,” Christensen says.
“Move out of the road,” the officer says, repeating himself.
The argument continues like that for a few minutes with the officer repeatedly ordering Christensen to the sidewalk. As the officer orders Christensen to the sidewalk, he expresses concern for her well-being, saying, “I don’t want you to get hit by a car.”
Then the situation starts to escalate.
“Don’t you touch me,” Christensen says.
“Go to the sidewalk,” the officer says to her.
The officer struggles to detain Christensen.
“Put your hands behind your back. Put your hands behind your back,” he says.
“Don’t you touch me,” she responds.
“Put your hands behind your back. You’re under arrest. Put your hands behind your back,” the officer says again.
The sound of a struggle continues with Christensen on the ground.
“Roll on your stomach. Roll on your stomach,” the officer can be heard saying as Christensen screams.
Eventually backup arrived.
Christensen was cited and released for obstructing or delaying a police officer in carrying out his duties.
“I hope that the police are careful and not aggressive when they deal with people like that,” Barackman told FOX40. “You shouldn’t approach a situation with a mentality that it’s going to be aggressive, especially someone that is the most kind and positive person you’ll ever meet.”