A woman says Vallejo, California, police used a taser on her last month after she and her friends were pulled over because the officers incorrectly thought they were making gun gestures with their hands, in an incident captured on chaotic cellphone video.
It's the latest accusation of excessive force against the Vallejo Police Department, following the deadly shooting in February of a man who'd been sleeping in his car at a fast food drive-thru. He was the uncle of the woman now alleging excessive force in her own case, Deyanna Jenkins.
Jenkins, 20, said she and her friends were riding down Tennessee Street April 16 when they were pulled over by Vallejo police.
"As they were coming to the car, I heard them: 'Roll down the windows, roll down the windows,'" Jenkins recalled, adding, "They had the guns.”
She said an officer told her, "Oh, you guys think this is a game or something?" and then asked to see license. Jenkins said she left her driver's license in another bag and then the officer grabbed her arm through the car window, telling her she was resisting arrest.
That's when one of the passengers started recording. In the video, an officer said they saw passengers making gestures towards them, pointing fingers at them in the form of a gun.
"You guys want to drive by and put your hand out the window and say, 'Bang, bang, bang,'" an officer says in the video.
But Jenkins said that's not what happened.
"We were listening to music," she said. "They were Snapchatting ... on the phones. It was never, like, hands out the window."
Jenkins said she was taken out of the car. Screaming can be heard in the video, which is dark and hard to make out.
Two months before the incident, Jenkins’ uncle, aspiring rapper Willie McCoy, was shot and killed by Vallejo police in a Taco Bell, where police had discovered him unresponsive with a gun in his lap.
Jenkins says she doesn’t know why she was pulled over. Vallejo police say they can't go into detail about this case.
"The chief did an internal investigation," Capt. Lee Horton said. "We're not providing any further statements at this time. It’s a personnel matter that’s ongoing now."
Civil rights attorney Melissa Nold, who has represented the family in the McCoy case, said the Vallejo Police Department needs to be reviewed by an outside agency.
"They've been reviewing themselves, supervising themselves, training themselves, and it seems to be getting worse," Nold said.
The city of Vallejo is asking the Department of Justice to come in and review the police department and help with community relations. It was uncertain if and when that would happen.