Body Camera Shows Controversial Arrest
Phoenix officer instructs other policemen to "CYA" in paperwork after 23-year-old woman was slammed to the ground and against her car during a traffic stop. KPNX's William Pitts reports.
(KPNX/NBC News) — A Phoenix, Arizona police officer is being accused of misconduct after forcefully handcuffing a woman and shoving her against a car during a traffic stop.
Body camera footage recently obtained and released by the woman’s attorney shows the arrest.
The officer, Michael McGillis, pulled over the woman, 23-year-old Mariah Valenzuela, for allegedly traveling the wrong way on a Phoenix road.
The footage shows McGillis pulling over Valenzuela in a parking lot and both of them exiting their cars in January 2020. The officer asks for her license, to which she responds that it isn’t on her. McGillis then asks if she as any identification on her.
“Why am I getting pulled over?” Valenzuela asked in response after turning to her car. McGillis did not answer.
Valenzuela asks that question again repeatedly, with no answer from McGillis. Eventually, he tells her to put her arms behind her back, and a confrontation ensues.
Bodycam footage shows McGillis on top of her, handcuffing her, as she is screaming. Valenzuela’s lawyer says the cop barely gave her a chance.
“She asked why are you stopping me and he demands ID and when she doesn’t produce it’s in this literally takes a split second he goes and takes her and slams on the ground,” lawyer James Palestini said.
Footage shows the officer eventually pick Valenzuela up from off of the ground, tells her to stop arguing, and pushes her against the side of a parked car.
“Why don’t you act like a young lady?” McGillis said to her.
“Officer McGillis pushed her against her car to stop her from resisting again,” the Phoenix Police Department said in a statement.
Valenzuela was taken to a police car after numerous other officers arrived on the scene of the traffic violation.
In police reports Valenzuela’s lawyer released, she admits to having a drink and smoking marijuana that day. Valenzuela has a medical marijuana card and took a breathalyzer test.
She blew a .062, which is under the legal limit of .08. The officer still arrested her for DUI. A blood draw later came back even lower, at .043.
Body camera video showed other officers at the scene calling Valenzuela “looney toons,” an officer taking pictures of Valenzuela’s abrasions joking about “taking a selfie,” and an officer instructing other police officers to “CYA” or “cover your a**” in paperwork.
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