The Tallahassee Police Department said Tuesday they “stand by" their practices after 44-year-old Christina West was arrested so violently by officers last month that her cheek bone was broken.
West’s attorney, Fred Conrad, is suing the department after he reviewed a dashcam video of the incident showing how officers slammed her face into the ground, breaking her orbital bone. West has already had two surgeries as a result of the injuries she sustained.
“We standby our practices that we have in place and we also stand by the procedures that we have in place,” police department spokesman David Northway told WCTV on Tuesday. “And if there is something that has gone awry in this investigation then the proper procedures will be followed and actions will be taken against those officers.”
West crashed her car into a house on Aug. 10, after which officers gave her a field sobriety test. On the dashcam video she is put into the patrol car, but then later asked to get out.
A struggle ensues and the two officers slam her face into the patrol car and force her to the ground. With a knee on the back of her neck, her face is smashed into the pavement.
In his report, arresting Officer Chris Ormerod wrote: “West was placed on the ground where she began to thrash and kick wildly. West kicked me in the groin area and kicked officer Schmidt in the leg … West was placed in a thigh lock on the ground as I secured her hands. While handcuffing West’s hands, she continued to violently make attempts to grab for my groin area with her hands.”
She was charged with driving under the influence, and battery and aggravate assault of a law enforcement officer.
"It was a very disturbing video to me," said State Attorney Willie Meggs. “I didn’t see anything in the video that would cause me to believe that this woman needed anybody to use any type of force or restraint on her.”
“I don’t care if she was drunker than Cooter Brown and took a breath test and blew through the moon … that’s not warranted. That’s not okay,” Conrad told WCTV.
“I can say I intend to pursue just compensation for Ms. West,” Conrad said. “And I can say I intend to do it relentlessly. I intend to make the police department pay for this. This is wrong. And they need to pay for it.”
Northway said the two officers involved in the incident are on paid administrative leave during the internal investigation into the incident.