The Goodyear Police Department is conducting an internal investigation after a video surfaced on social media that appears to show a police officer punch an unarmed woman during an arrest.
Police said the incident happened on Thursday just before noon near the northwest corner of Van Buren Street and Dysart Road in Avondale.
The video shows the officer pulling the woman's hand while she is pulling the other way as she is partially outside of the driver's side of the car. That's when the officer punches the woman in the head.
She is then pulled to the ground and dragged to just behind the car. The officer then pulls out a weapon (it's unclear if it's lethal or non-lethal) and points it at a man outside of the car. The officer yells at the man to get on the ground and he does.
The person recording the video then drives off.
The woman has been identified as 39-year-old Renee Armenta.
She was arrested on charges including resisting arrest, driving with a suspended/revoked license, and possession/use of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
"It was heartbreaking for me to see like, I just couldn't believe it, that's my mom. I didn't know what he was going to do to her, she was scared for her life. It was really outrageous, it shouldn't have gone that far. It was ridiculous," her daughter, Cassandra said.
According to the police report, police stopped Armenta for driving on a revoked driver's license.
During that traffic stop, police say Armenta "became argumentative and refused to comply" with an order to comply, according to the police report.
The report goes on to say that Armenta "made a sudden movement with her left hand and placed it in the small of her back as she backed away."The reporting officer also states: "I grabbed the defendant's left arm and attempted to control her. I attempted to pull the defendant away from the vehicle to effect her arrest as there was an additional occupant in the front seat I was exposed to. But, she pulled her arm back towards her as she now began putting her right arm behind her back. I could not control the defendant as she resisted arrest. The defendant was struck in the face and taken back away from the vehicle where she was handcuffed."Police also say they found what appeared to be marijuana and a meth pipe in the car.
The department said it is reviewing body-cam video and conducting interviews.
The Goodyear Police Department sent Arizona's Family the following statement.On Thursday, September 6, 2018, at 1148 hours, a Goodyear officer conducted a motor vehicle stop near the northwest corner of Van Buren and Dysart.The driver who had a suspended driver’s license was notified that she was being placed under arrest; at that time she began to retreat.When a conflict with a suspect occurs during an arrest, this presents a challenging and often dangerous situation for the arresting officer. The top priority of the Goodyear Police Department is the safety of the public as well as our officers. When a situation such as this occurs, it can appear frightening to passersby who don’t understand the full context of the situation.
In the interest of transparency and maintaining the trust of our public, the Goodyear Police Department is currently investigating the specific details of this particular case. We are working to review body cam footage and conducting interviews to determine exactly what occurred. Once our investigation is complete and all the facts are in, we will be better able to provide accurate information as to the details of this arrest. We appreciate your patience as we conduct our thorough investigation.Armenta is due back in court Sept. 20.
To read the full police report, click HERE.
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