Drunk passenger arrest by Metro police caught on video

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Unsuck DC Metro finds us this video of a young, drunk woman being arrested by a Metro police officer on September 16th. Some Twitter reports on the video indicate there were two officers, but there’s just one; the second male figure involved in the arrest seems to be a friend of the woman trying to intervene.

The anonymous person who posted the video describes the events as follows (copied-and-pasted, all typos left intact):

Was recorded on 9-16-10. Taken inside the Gallery-Place Metro Station. A drunk girl goes up to a Metro Transit Police Officer and gets in his face. Despite two forceful warnings about getting into his face, she does it again. She is prompty taken down hard and furiously. She struggles, the cop tells her stop resisting. I am posting this video as a neutral party not on anyone side. This video could be used depending on the case. It was a case of catching an action live as it happned.

The poster only caught the tail end of the initial altercation between the woman and the officer, but gets a reasonably clear shot of the arrest itself- she’s tackled kind of roughly (a statement on the physical force with which it was done, not a judgment on whether or not the officer was right to do it), and ends up face-down on the floor, with the officer more or less lying on top of her. Her dress is pulled up and you can see her attempt to pull it down to cover herself several times while she was restrained on the floor. Eventually, she is pulled up to sit against the wall, while another woman and a man who were with her observe and appear to be confused about what they should be doing.

Larger version of the video below the jump- it’s easier to pick out what’s happening in the dark that way.

Tiffany Baxendell Bridge is an Internet enthusiast and an incurable smartass. When not heckling the neighborhood political scene on Twitter, she can be found goofing off with her ukulele, Bollywood dancing, or obsessing about cult TV. She is That Woman With the Baby In the Bar.

Tiffany lives in Brookland with her husband Tom, son Charlie, and two high-maintenance cats. Read why Tiffany loves DC.

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19 thoughts on “Drunk passenger arrest by Metro police caught on video

  1. Awesome idea to swear and yell at cops then act like a 7 year old. “Stop resisting” means stop talking, stop flailing around, stop whining.. geeze.

  2. WMATA issued a statement to Unsuck DC Metro that’s worth a read.

    Assuming the facts in their statement are true, the case might hinge on whether or not she tried to comply before the arrest. I’d expect her to plead to the disorderly charge, but have the unlawful entry charge dismissed since it looks like she’s trying to comply with orders to leave.

    She’s lucky not to have been charged with resisting arrest, a felony. “Stop resisting” is usually code for “I’m saying this to up the charges on you because I don’t like you.” Though on the other hand, the video plus the fact that I’d squirm if handcuffs pulled my hair, I doubt they’d win a conviction.

    Also be interesting to see if the prosecutors even prosecute this case. They have honest-to-God problems in this city; drunk women aren’t a major issue on their plates.

  3. Actually, the video is really not good for the police officer. I would expect a civil suit shortly.

    He orders her to leave, she complies (albeit with a snide comment) — she’s walking out — he runs up behind her, grabs her hair and forces her to the ground. Not good for the officer. He then appears to be lying on top of her with her skirt pulled up, ordering her not to resist when she doesn’t not appear to be moving in anyway.

    This could easily be taken to a jury and argued as civil assault.

  4. Oh, and something like 95% or more of all disorderly conduct charges in DC are either not prosecuted or thrown out during initial motions for lack of evidence. Indeed, a study was conducted of arrests made in DC and it was found that DC cops severely overuse the disorderly conduct charge, using it as a “catch-all.”
    I would expect a competent attorney would have this dismissed relatively quickly, particularly now that there is a growing media notice.

  5. Looks like an inexperienced cop who let his emotions get the better of him. Some drunk brat got under his skin and got the humiliation of her life. But IMO this negative publicity could have been avoided if he had acted more professionally during the arrest. She’s a drunk 21-year-old, he’s a law enforcement officer and needs to keep a cool head. Obviously he’s much stronger and could have interacted with her and restrained her in a more professional manner. I don’t disagree with the outcome, I just think he got a little too fired up and used a level of force that could have been better used elsewhere.

    WMATA will look the other way to protect their cops and the case will probably get dismissed.

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  7. I wish all those drunk people would stay off the metro and just drive their cars home. Oh, wait …

  8. Jesus god, I couldn’t watch that after awhile. She’s a drunk twit, but that’s not a crime (unfortunately, *sigh*). The way he took her down was completely uncalled for, and sitting on her forever saying “stop resisting” (as if that made it true that she was resisting) was also egregious. Each time he said it she said “I’m not resisting” (and it truly looked like she wasn’t, though you could see only one angle) and at one point “I don’t understand!” I wouldn’t understand either, given his reaction to her sassing.

    I’m not saying she’s innocent, but yegad that’s awful.

  9. This is a perfect example of how our generation behaves… we will stick our finger in anyones face, say what we want, do what we want, and dare a person of authority to put us in our place. And when they do, we sue.

  10. This looks like excessive use of force to me. Why didn’t the officer just let her go when she was walking away? The way he was lying on top of her was very creepy to me.

  11. This video appears to show a Metro Transit Police officer forcefully arresting a woman at the Gallery Place Metrorail station. I can tell you that the incident occurred at approximately 11:30 p.m., Sept. 16. However, the video did not provide a complete story of the events that occurred.

    The officer initially observed the woman acting disorderly near the fare card machines. He asked her to leave the station. She exited the station and returned a short time later. The video begins when the officer approached her for the second time. She was continuing her disorderly behavior and was asked to leave by the officer. The woman refused to leave and began to argue with the officer. The officer decided to place the woman under arrest. While attempting to place handcuffs on her, she pulled her arm away, and when the officer reached for her other arm, she tripped over the officer’s foot, and they both fell to the ground. The officer dropped his handcuffs during the fall and attempted to restrain the woman as he reached for the handcuffs. He eventually handcuffed the woman and placed her under arrest. The woman was charged with disorderly conduct and unlawful entry. The case is scheduled to go to trial.

    As soon as the video was brought to the attention of the Metro Transit Police on Sept. 20, the department launched an internal investigation. The investigation has been completed and it was determined that the officer acted lawfully and complied with departmental policies and procedures.

  12. I am sure some will try to make the cop to be the bad guy

    If you do what she did, you deserve to be slammed to the ground

  13. Wow, I’m really surprised that WMATA is prepared to make this sort of assertion in the face of that video. It’s debatable whether the assertion about the officer deciding “to place the woman under arrest” actually happened before she turned and began to exit the station but it’s VERY clear from the audio that he NEVER states “you’re under arrest.” Instead he simply repeatedly says “C’mere” to her back as she walks away.

    The claim about her tripping over the officer’s foot is, I suppose, accurate but it’s obvious from the video that she trips because he deliberately entwines his legs with hers to bring her down. He falls on top of her in a controlled manner, making this implication that it’s an accident pretty specious.

    The officer clearly had cause to arrest her, but defending the way he did it is embarrassing to WMATA.

  14. I’m fairly positive that public intoxication is illegal. Wouldn’t this be ground enough for an arrest in this case?

  15. It seems that public intoxication was the original reason behind the conflict.

    The barely audible thing the cop says in the beginning is “Take a cab”

    I assume that the guy just decide that the girl was too obviously drunk and he didn’t want her on the metro.

    It sounds like she was asking him (not politely) how the hell she was supposed to get home if not for the metro? That’s when he suggests a cab.

    That he tackled her to the ground without, as another commentator noted, explicitly telling her she was under arrest, and held her down for so long is reason enough for an investigation into this guy. As a female it was extremely unnerving to watch as she lay there helpless.

    I suggest everyone writes to Metro and let them know that they ought to investigate the incident and get rid of that officer.
    http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/contact_us/ridercomment.cfm

  16. @Michelle: Metro did investigate and decided that the officer’s actions were appropriate to the situation. Though of course one is quite free to disagree and to express that disagreement to Metro.

    And I too have a visceral reaction to the sight of a man overpowering an intoxicated woman, lying on top of her, and yelling “STOP RESISTING” as she repeatedly tries to pull her dress down to cover herself.

  17. People who believe that we must submit to a cop just because always amaze me and those are the same people that makes it easier for cops to get away with abuse. The woman turned and walked away and apparently this cop did not like what she said, so he runs her down and tackles her and is laying on her back while her dress is up. So he being the man he is, keeps saying stop resisting, which appears to be very little while trying to pull down her dress. What we don’t see is what he is doing with his other hand.

    He was probably getting his jollies if you know what I mean.

    Back to the “we must submit” attitude some people have. Why? Are we not supposed to be a free nation, innocent until proven guilty and why in the hell did the Cop feel it was necessary to tackle her (see my jollies comment: this is why). Cops have far too much power today and literally get away with murder. I believe that some people watch too many cop shows and have been conditioned to believe that Police have the right to abuse the public.

  18. I agree with the poster above. There is a section of the population who will always desire strong law enforcement, and don’t seem to care about civil liberties in the process, until theirs are threatened of course. This woman is very lucky that someone took this video, otherwise it would be her word against the WMATA. I hope whoever drafted the statement at 11 is proud of his or her work.