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Woman Body Slammed During Traffic Stop Prompts Use Of Force Investigation

RIO VISTA (CBS13) — A body slam at the hands of Rio Vista police was captured on camera during a traffic stop the evening of May 5.

The woman's family says it's excessive use of force and abuse of power from a police department that's been accused of the same misconduct recently. What started out as a family dinner ended with the arrest of multiple family members after a physical confrontation between police and a mother and daughter.

Deshunna Payne heard her kids had been pulled over on the way to the store a couple blocks from home, and arrived with her daughter Cherish to ask the officer what happened.

"A lot of questions he didn't like and he didn't want to answer and he was very aggressive," she said.

Payne was told her other daughter Mea was pulled over for tags that expired two years ago. But she wanted to know why all four occupants in the car were detained. Meanwhile, her daughter was still filming.

"He addressed her and told her to put her phone up and she said she had the right to record and he hit her phone out," Payne said.

"Now you manhandling my daughter," you can hear Payne say in the video.

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The officer takes her daughter down and she lunges toward her.

"It made me go into mom protective mode," she said.

Payne's son-in-law was recording from the back of the police car as the officer's partner then turned to her and put her in handcuffs.

CBS13 showed the video to former Sac County Sheriff John McGinnis.

"The critical fundamental question is what is the basis upon which that decision was made? Was it improper-was it unreasonable?" McGinnis said.

McGinnis said all video, including body camera footage, must be reviewed to put the officers' actions into context. Deshunna says with six kids and three step kids, she's had run-ins with Rio Vista police before, but nothing like this.

"You have officers abusing authority whether it's writing a simple traffic ticket to excessive force. It makes no sense it's unnecessary," said Payne.

Rio Vista police issued a lengthy statement about the incident:

"On Sunday May 5, 2019 at around 7:43PM, Rio Vista Police Officers stopped a car for registration that had been suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles for two years.  After confirming the suspended registration, officers informed the driver, identified as Mea Thomas, that her vehicle would be towed pursuant to Vehicle Code 22651(o).  Mea Thomas told officers that they could not tow the car and refused to exit the car.

Officers were able to detain two passengers from the car without incident.  While officers were detaining the passengers, a second car with other family members arrived at the vehicle stop and two females began confronting officers.  The occupants of the second car, Deshaunna Payne and Cherish Thomas, refused repeated directions and commands to remain at their car and not interfere with the original stop.  At this point, the two officers were now confronted with five uncooperative people.

Deshaunna Payne and Cherise Thomas again approached both officers and refused several commands to return to their car and stop interfering with the original vehicle stop. They repeatedly approached the officers and attempted to push past them to get near the car and people originally detained in the vehicle stop.

Cherise Thomas tried to walk around an officer to get back to the original vehicle stop.  The officer informed her several times that she could not go back to the original vehicle stop.  She pushes past him and as he tried to stop her, she pushed the officer.  The officer directed her to stop and place her hands behind her back.  She refused and tried to pull away.  The officer tried to control both of her arms and as he did so, Deshaunna Payne approached him and tried to strike him.  As Cherise continued to resist and refused to comply, the officer tackled her to the ground in order to gain control of her while his partner stepped in to take Deshaunna Payne into custody. A short time later, a third car arrived with additional family members who were also confrontational and uncooperative.

Assistance was requested from the Solano and Sacramento County Sheriff Offices due to the number of uncooperative people involved and their continuous confrontational behavior.

As Cherise Thomas and Deshaunna Payne were being handcuffed, Michal Ivy and/or Mea Thomas who were originally detained in a patrol car attempted to escape by kicking at the door and window causing damage to the door and protective screen over the window.  They were both arrested.

Four people were arrested as a result of this incident:

Cherise Thomas of Rio Vista for resisting arrest, obstructing or delaying an investigation and public intoxication;

Deshaunna Payne of Rio Vista for resisting arrest, obstructing or delaying an investigation;

Mychal Ivy of Rio Vista for felony vandalism and violation of probation; and,

Mea Thomas of Rio Vista for resisting arrest, obstructing or delaying an investigation and felony vandalism.

Body camera footage from both officers will be made available to the media within the next couple of days to show the totality of this situation.

An internal investigation into the use of force will be conducted, which is standard procedure in a use of force incident such as this."

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