Rio Vista Police Department started an excessive force investigation after one of its police officers was captured on camera slamming 31-year-old Cherish Thomas to the ground following a traffic stop.
Officers stopped a vehicle with four people inside on Harris Drive on Sunday for a suspended registration, NBC-affiliate KCRA first reported. All four refused to leave the car which prevented officers from impounding it, according to police, and that's when Tyrone Clayton Jr. called relatives to come to scene and they recorded the incident on a phone.
"Just being pulled over, I fear for my life every time as an African American in Rio Vista," Clayton told KCRA.
Thomas and Deshuanna Payne, who are Clayton's stepsister and stepmother, arrived to the scene when things escalated, Police Chief Dan Dailey said. Dailey said Thomas and Payne obstructed police investigation and Thomas tried to get back into the vehicle that allegedly had suspended registration.
Chief Dailey also said a third vehicle arrived on the scene with even more family members who were "confrontational and uncooperative."
The recording showed only a short part of the incident, police said, and the department released an officer's body camera footage later Tuesday that showed more of what went down.
Officers said Thomas pushed one of them and Payne tried to hit another officer. Dailey said that's when the officer picked up Thomas and slammed her to the ground, but that wasn't clear in the footage that was released by police.
"(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," Dailey said in a news release.
Thomas says she didn't push the officer and Payne says she wasn't trying to attack anyone. Thomas was scraped up in the incident but she and Payne both declined to go to the hospital in an ambulance, a bodycam footage showed.
They were both charged with resisting arrest and obstructing an investigation, KCRA reported.
"I wasn’t trying to attack them. He slammed my baby," Payne told KCRA. "I went in mother mode to protect my child."
Thomas said she went to the hospital for her injuries and returned home on Monday. She said she suffered from headaches, sore legs and arms since the arrest.
Two people who were detained during the traffic stop were charged with felony vandalism after police said they tried to escape the patrol car by banging on the doors and windows.
Payne says she would like to see the officer fired.
So far, no actions have been taken against the officer, KCRA reported.