A woman who interfered with the arrest of a suspect in a flash-mob style robbery in San Jose is facing charges while claiming police went too far.
It happened on Saturday night outside the Macy's at Oakridge Mall.
Police said an organized retail crime crew had just robbed the Macys, but two store security guards managed to detain one of the suspects. Investigators said that’s when other suspects returned and beat up one of the guards.
“Violently beat this Macys employee. Pulled her hair. They punched her. They kicked her in the head,” said Sargent Chistian Camrillo of the San Jose Police Department.
Officers arrived in the middle of all of this and as they were handcuffing the suspect, the woman, identified as Abeer Hamed, got involved.
“You see two cops run at the man, punched him and threw him to the ground,” she said. “For me seeing that as a mother, I was heartbroken.”
Cell phone video shows officers repeatedly tell Hamed to back off.
During that confrontation, police said the robbery suspect got away, and officers went after Hmed.
“He slammed my face to the ground. Scraped my elbow. My elbow really hurts too,” said Hamed, adding that she plans to file a complaint and talk to a lawyer.
“The female who inserted herself in that situation was subsequently arrested for aiding the escape of a person who was lawfully detained by a police officer, assault on an officer, and delaying an officer as well,” said Camarrillo.
Police said they welcome the scrutiny, and will conduct their own investigation to make sure protocols were followed.
But they urge people not to interfere when an officer is trying to make an arrest.
“It took one person to insert themselves in that situation, that allowed a suspect to escape,” said Carrillo.
In a statement, Macy's said customer and staff safety is a high priority, and said they’re working closely with police in this case.