Rio Vista Police Chief Dan Daily said in a statement that the investigation will focus on determining whether the unidentified offending officer used excessive force during the Sunday altercation. Police say the vehicle was stopped because it had a suspended registration.
Footage of the traffic stop was captured by Deshaunna Payne, a relative of the individuals who had been pulled over by law enforcement officers. Local media reports indicate Payne was called to the scene by a detained family member so that she could record the officers' behavior for transparency.
Payne's cellphone recording begins with her explaining to the viewer that Mea Thomas, her daughter, was having her car impounded because she had, according to police, failed to pay $14 for her car registration. Payne rejects the notion, saying, "The registration is paid for, and [Mea] has insurance."
The frustrated mother arrived on the scene with her second daughter, Cherish Thomas, who also opted to film the officers. Within moments, Cherish appears to walk near the impounded vehicle, prompting one officer to grab and drag her away from the so-called "crime" scene.
Just as Payne calls out the officer for "manhandling" Cherish, said officer picks her daughter up and body-slams her to the ground. The remainder of the footage shows an outraged Payne condemning the officer's behavior as his partner attempts to restrain Payne.
Cellphone video was also captured by a family member who'd been detained before the body slam, and who had been riding in Mea's car. The second video offers a different view of the unfolding events, showing Payne grappling with the second officer. Mea can be heard yelling out for her mother on the recording.
— D.$C0TT🇨🇴✊🏽 (@707_dre) May 6, 2019
A statement released by the Rio Vista Police Department indicates that a third car arrived to the scene with more family members "who were also confrontational and uncooperative." It added that officers from the Solano and Sacramento County Sheriff's Offices were called in for assistance.
All four family members on the scene were arrested and charged with offenses including resisting arrest, obstructing or delaying an investigation and public intoxication. Mea and another family member were also cited for felony vandalism, a charge that stemmed from the pair allegedly kicking the police cruiser.
Payne told local news station KCRA that she was not trying to attack either officer. "[The officer who grabbed Cherish] slammed my baby… I went [into] mother mode to protect my child," she said.
As for Cherish, she has has continued to suffer from headaches and sore limbs since the arrest.
The family now wants justice, Payne told the station, saying, "I want to see the same aggressive action that he took with my child done to him. Yes, I would like to see him fired."
Body-worn camera footage from both police officers is expected to be released sometime later this week.