Home / National News / Video of DC Metro Police Arrest Stirs Controversy

 

(WASHINGTON) —  Metro Transit Police in Washington, D.C., are under fire after a video surfaced on social media of an officer tripping a detained woman when she refused orders to sit down at the Columbia Heights station.

According to Metro Transit police, the confrontation began when an officer with the Metro Transit Police Department asked a woman on the paid side of the fare gates to put her bag of potato chips away. According to the Metro, riders cannot “eat, drink, smoke or litter on Metro vehicles or in stations. Metro Transit Police issue citations or make arrests to enforce the law.”

 The woman, according to the police report, refused to put away her food.

An officer then tells the woman, who is not named, that if she does not put her food away, she would need to leave the station, according to the police. She responded, “No, I’m not going anywhere!”

A video of the encounter, shot by a bystander and posted on YouTube on Oct. 18 by an “April Goggans,” contains a description that says the woman was walking with a bag of chips and a lollipop. The video shows a small crowd gathering around a handcuffed woman and a few officers. An officer is seen tripping the woman after she refuses two orders to sit down.

The woman then attempts to stand up. The officer, who had tripped her moments before, puts his hand on the woman’s shoulder, pushing her back to the ground.

Moments later, the video shows a police officer going through a backpack next to the woman, who is seated and handcuffed. The woman is heard asking why the officer is going through her belongings. The police report obtained by ABC News does not mention the officer’s search.

A second video shows the woman, who police say is 18 years old, appearing to resist at times while the police escort her out of the Metro station.

 When the officers arrive at the police vehicle, the woman is seen on video struggling with officers. One officer repeatedly orders the woman to “get off my hand” and “let me do my job.” The arrested woman continues to scream and curse at the officers, complaining that her face had been “slapped against the (expletive) car.”

The woman was arrested for unlawful entry and was not injured from the arrest, according to police. Prosecutors have decided not to charge the woman, according to a statement today from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

“Prohibitions on eating, drinking, smoking, playing music without headphones, etc. have been in place since Metro opened in 1976 and are criminal statutes in each of the jurisdictions. In other words, these are not Metro rules or policies, they are ordinances,” the statement read. “Metro does not receive any revenue as a result of fines; that goes to the jurisdictions. It is correct that the prohibition on eating reduces rodents, pests, unsanitary conditions and unpleasant smells.”

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority spokesperson Dan Stessel said MTPD command staff “are reviewing the handling of this arrest, which is standard when there is a public question about use of force.”

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