Intense footage from a body cam video showing an officer grabbing a woman accused of shoplifting by the throat and slamming her to the ground when she resisted her arrest on Friday added fuel to the continuing national debate concerning police brutality.
Tiffany Tebo had just exited a Bealls Department Store in Wesley Chapel, Florida, when an unnamed deputy from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office confronted her over a pair of stolen shoes, according to the Daily Mail. After the deputy took her shopping bag from her and asked that she put her hands behind her back, the video footage shows Tebo appearing to resist the arrest. The situation escalated very quickly from there.
"Hands behind your back. Put your hands behind your back. I'm gonna put you on the ground," the deputy told Tebo, who continued to resist as she repeatedly pleaded with the officer.
The deputy grabbed Tebo's arm and shoved her against a wall before knocking her to the ground and grabbing her throat, WTSP-TV reported. The video footage shows spatters of blood on the brick pavement after Tebo is yanked upright again. Then the officer pointed a taser at her as he ordered her to lie on her stomach and put her hands behind her back. When she finally complied with the officer's orders, thick smears of blood can be seen trailing down her hair and back. During the entire encounter, Tebo can be heard crying and pleading with the officer, saying that she wouldn't do anything anymore and begging him to take the shoes or accept payment for them.
The officer then called for an ambulance, saying, "I got one detained, she's got a — I slammed her to the ground. She's bleeding severely from her head. She was resisting. I need fire rescue."
The officer then turned to Tebo, who had been continuing to plead with him, saying, "No! You don't resist. You talk after. You don't negotiate with me."
After walking towards his vehicle, the officer then retrieved a towel to put on her head to slow the bleeding, saying to Tebo as she pleaded with him, "Stay there. Relax. Relax. I want you to get taken care of first. That was completely avoidable. You just had to listen to me. I wasn't trying to be mean ... I gave you 10 chances ... You pulled away and then you tried to kick at me ... Okay, well now I'm gonna get you help, and then we're going to talk about everything afterwards."
The encounter with the officer resulted in four staples in the head for Tebo.
"I’m all bruised up banged up everywhere," Tebo said, according to WTSP. "He’s a bigger man. He didn’t need to do any of that ... He had a hold of me. He could’ve just put handcuffs on me. There was no reason to throw me down to the ground ... I still can’t believe I was arrested but I can’t believe I got this to go with it."
But Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco supporred his deputy’s actions.
“We’re trying to put handcuffs on her, she’s trying to fight. I know people will say she’s tiny but a lot of tiny people cause harm,” Nocco told WTSP, adding that if Tebo had complied with the officer's orders immediately, none of this would have happened.
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