At first, the story seems to be one of police brutality: a middle-aged woman, suffering from hip ailments and needing a cane to walk, is pulled over for speeding, and when she asks to see an officer’s badge, she’s ripped from her car and placed under arrest.
But first impressions might be deceiving.
The incident occurred in October 2013, KGTV reported, when Bana Mouwakeh was stopped for going 69 miles per hour in a 50 zone.
Deputy Agustin Rosas Verion issues her a citation for speeding, and as video captured by another deputy’s body camera shows, Mouwakeh protests and demands to see Verion’s badge.
Then she fatefully reaches out and grabs at Verion’s vest — prompting him to say, “Now you’re going to jail,” as the deputies begin pulling her from the car.
In the video, Mouwakeh says she’s scheduled to have hip surgery and that she needs a cane to walk.
She yells, “How dare you,” and “You’re so obnoxious,” as the deputies handcuff her.
Mouwakeh was arrested on charges of battery and resisting arrest, but Mouwakeh’s lawyer said she’s working to get those charges dropped — and she may file a complaint with the FBI’s civil rights division.
Mouwakeh told KFMB-TV that the incident left her in severe emotional and physical pain.
“I pleaded with him, ‘I’m going to have hip surgery and I just had knee surgery, please can we just negotiate this,'” Mouwakeh said. “The [deputies’] reaction was way too excessive.”
The arrest report tells a somewhat different version of events.
“When I contacted the driver of the silver Jetta that was later identified as Bana Mouwakeh, she was upset and said ‘Why did you stop me!'” the report states. “I showed her the laser and told her that I stopped her for going 69 mph in a 50 mph zone. The driver then yelled at me and said ‘Everyone else was speeding also.'”
The report goes on to say that Mouwakeh argued and that Verion had to threaten arrest once just to get her to hand over her driver’s license.
“After I was done with the citation, I walked back over to her vehicle,” the report states. “I handed Mouwakeh her driver’s license and registration card. As I was explaining to Mouwakeh the citation, she reached out the driver’s side window, grabbed my Sheriff’s Department safety vest and pulled it toward her causing the velcro on the side of my vest to be un-done.”
That reach landed Mouwakeh first on the pavement, then in the back of a squad car.
Mouwakeh’s case will go to trial July 21.
Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter