Phoenix Officer Brutalized Woman During Minor Traffic Stop, Took Her To Jail
Footage has been revealed of a young woman being brutally assaulted by a police officer after she was pulled over for a minor traffic violation in Phoenix, Arizona, according to The Guardian.
- Body camera footage from January shows 23-year-old Mariah Valenzuela being tackled and slammed to the ground after telling officer Michael McGillis that she did not have ID on her. McGillis reportedly did not tell her why he pulled her over, and his assault caused injuries to her head, face, hands and legs.
- Valenzuela was then taken to jail, accused of resisting arrest, “creating a substantial risk of physical injury” to an officer, and was cited for a DUI even though her blood alcohol content was well below the legal limit.
- Valenzuela spoke about the incident in an interview, saying:
“He grabbed me and threw me on my car and kept slamming my head. I was really afraid. It was dark and there was no one around.”
- The footage also shows that when another officer heard of the injuries, he told McGillis “just to CYA [cover your ass]” when writing up reports for the incident.
Lawyers who have dealt with McGillis on multiple DUI cases have criticized his conduct.
- Lawrence Koplow, a former prosecutor and now a defense attorney, said:
“He’s the epitome of all things wrong with part of the police department. It’s ‘us v them’. If you’re not on his side, you’re the enemy.”
Per the report,
[Phoenix police sergeant Ann] Justus initially declined to comment on the specifics of Valenzuela’s arrest, saying the department’s professional standards bureau had reviewed the incident and found no policy violations and that the “expectations of all of our officers is to conduct themselves in a professional manner and to treat every person that they contact with dignity and respect”.
However, after The Guardian published its report, "Justus sent an additional detailed statement defending McGillis’ actions in the video, saying he and Valenzuela 'had a cordial exchange' and that the officer 'remained calm and professional, and continually tried to get Valenzuela to calm down and stop resisting the arrest'."