Investigation underway after video shows CA officer body slam woman during traffic stop

RIO VISTA, Calif. (KTXL/CNN) - A California family involved in an altercation with police during a traffic stop wants their charges dropped and one officer who used a body slam to face disciplinary action.

Relatives say a Rio Vista police officer body-slammed Cherish Thomas during a traffic stop. The woman reportedly suffered injuries from the incident. (Source: Tyrone Clayton Jr./KTXL/Tribune/CNN)

A use of force investigation is underway, but no Rio Vista Police Department officers have been placed on leave following the Sunday evening incident.

Three family members say they were returning from a quick errand when they were stopped by a police officer. In a written statement, police Chief Dan Dailey says the officer explained the car had suspended registration and would be towed.

Mea Thomas, the car’s driver, says everything was up to date, and she had just paid for her tags. Police say she became argumentative and refused to exit the vehicle.

Then, another car pulled up to the scene. Mea Thomas’ sister, Cherish Thomas, and their mother, DeShaunna Payne, were inside. Both women got out and began recording cell phone video.

Body camera footage shows the women yelling at the officers, while police tell them to get back in their vehicle. At one point, Cherish Thomas starts walking forward.

"Don't come close to me," said an officer to Cherish Thomas, before grabbing her arm and turning her around. "You need to go this way."

The officer then body slams Cherish Thomas to the ground.

Relatives say Cherish Thomas suffered injuries from the incident.

"That's a woman. You're double, triple her size. What was the need for the use of force?” said Tyrone Clayton Jr., a passenger in Mea Thomas’ car at the time.

Four people, including Payne and both her daughters, were arrested. One of the charges Cherish Thomas faces is public intoxication.

The family has hired an attorney and plans to fight their charges. They also want the officer who body-slammed Cherish Thomas to face disciplinary action.

“You slammed my daughter to the ground - dirt, which is hard as concrete - on her face. He’s three times bigger than her. That was unnecessary,” Payne said. “Did I get a little bit aggressive? Yes, I did. Regardless how old your child gets, or any of my kids get, when you see them or feel that they are being threatened, you automatically go into mother mode – protection. You’re going to protect your kid.”

Copyright 2019 KTXL, Tribune, DeShaunna Payne, Cherish Thomas, Tyrone Clayton Jr. via CNN. All rights reserved.

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