Police investigate after video shows Ohio woman getting hit in head during arrest
Police are investigating after a video appeared to show an Ohio police officer repeatedly hitting a woman in the head during a confrontation at a McDonald's.
The actions of two officers involved in the incident, identified by police as Sergeant Todd Stanley and Officer Tim Zellers, are under investigation, Butler Township Police Chief John Porter said at a press conference.
But an attorney for Latinka Hancock, the woman in the video, said that he doubts the officers will face serious consequences.
At a separate press conference Wednesday, Hancock's civil attorney, Michael Wright, said his client suffered a closed head injury, busted lip, loose teeth and a back injury during an attempted arrest by the two officers on Jan. 15 which was filmed by a bystander. Stanley punched Hancock while Zellers allegedly pointed a taser at her head, Wright said.
Hancock has been charged with resisting arrest and failure to identify, police said. She was also given citations for driving with an open container of alcohol and driving under suspension, according to police.
Hancock's criminal attorney, Ben Swift, told ABC News that Hancock had her arraignment Wednesday morning. Swift said he plans to file motions on the case because he does not believe the charges are valid.
"It's going to be our objective to get the charges dismissed," Swift said.
Stanley is currently on paid administrative leave, Porter said.
"I'm not going to be George Floyd," Hancock said, describing what she was thinking during the incident. They're not going to get me on the ground."
Wright said an investigation of the officers' conduct is not enough. He said that if the video never went viral, there would never have been an investigation.
"It's going to take one week for them to say that this officer followed their protocol, followed their procedure," said Wright. "We do need somebody independent to investigate this officer and this police department because they can't investigate themselves."
Wright later clarified to ABC News that he wants both officers and Butler Township Police Department investigated for this "unnecessary police brutality."
Porter said he would release the officers' footage from their body cameras after the investigation concludes.
"The officers are given options and until I have all the information, I'm not gonna comment on what is the appropriate response-action to this yet," said Porter at the press conference.
Porter said that officers were trying to de-escalate the situation and all officers are trained in de-escalation.
The incident began when a McDonald's employee called the police on Hancock after she said she ordered a Big Mac with extra cheese, was charged for the extra cheese, but not given the cheese, her attorney said.
Hancock said the McDonald's manager told the cook to fix the order; when the cook did, the cook tried to charge Hancock again. Hancock said she refused to pay, but still wanted her hamburger, so the cook said she was trespassing and asked her to leave, she said.
Hancock said she left, but wanted to stay to talk to police to tell them what happened and to either get her money back, or get her sandwich.
But Porter said that although Hancock initially appeared to be cooperative, she later turned combative. He said she failed to identify herself "after numerous attempts."
Porter acknowledged Hancock was hit in the face and the head. He showed some of the body camera footage at the press conference which was reviewed by ABC News.
In the body camera footage he showed, Hancock said to the officers, "if you arrest me, I swear you're going to have a problem."
She also says in the footage that McDonald's gave her the 30 cents she paid for extra cheese back. The bodycam footage shows the officers attempting to give Hancock a piece of paper for trespassing so she would not be able to return to the McDonalds. Hancock gave the officers her last name, but would not give them her first name.
The officers asked Hancock to calm down and said that they would have to arrest her, the footage shows. Zellers can then be seen saying Hancock is under arrest for failure to identify.
The footage the police showed from both officers' body cameras did not clearly show Hancock getting hit in the head. The video did show the officer pointing the taser at her head and buzzing it several times before putting her in handcuffs.
In the bodycam footage, Hancock can be heard saying "why did you hit my face? I didn't even touch you." Her mouth appears bloody in the footage from Zeller's bodycam.
Hancock later gave the officers her first name as they were trying to put her in the police car, the footage shows.
"It wasn't over a sandwich," Hancock said at the press conference. "I'm in the video saying I just want to go home at this point. It's not worth it over a sandwich."
The president of the Dayton NAACP, Dr. Derrick Ford, criticized the actions of the officer who pointed the taser at Hancock.
"Nowhere do I see pointing a taser at someone's head is a part of training," Ford said at the press conference. "Training with tasers is that you are going to go from from mid-body down as relates to tasers. You don't point a taser at a female or Black females head."
Attempts to contact Stanley and Zellers were unsuccessful and it was not immediately clear if the officers had attorneys who could speak on their behalf. The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.
Wright said that he is asking for the officer who allegedly punched Hancock to be fired, not for his resignation. He said he wants the officer to be terminated, charged and convicted.
"To add insult to injury, this happened on Monday. This happened on Martin Luther King Day," said Wright.