A West Covina police officer claimed he was in fear for his life when he snatched a smartphone from a woman during a traffic stop as she recorded last Thursday.
“Let me see your phone,” said the cop, who remains unidentified at this time.
The woman, Eileen Aquino, and her husband, were pulled over for not having license plates, according to KTLA, which reported that police handcuffed her husband because he was on probation for a gun violation.
She asserted her right to record, telling the officer her mother works at the sheriff’s office.
“I don’t give a fuck,” the cop responded.
“I don’t want it to be used as a weapon,” he continued.
“You guys have made a bad name for yourselves, I’m not going to put the phone down,” Aquino responded.
After more back and forth, the cop said, “if you don’t put the phone down, I’m going to take it from you.”
“You have no right to do that,” she said.
But before she could finish her sentence, he swiped at the camera but failed to grab it. Within seconds, he was climbing inside the car, wrestling the woman for her phone.
According to KTLA:
The incident occurred on the morning of April 12 along Meadow Road near Garvey Avenue when the woman, Eileen Aquino, and her husband were driving a vehicle without license plates from an auto glass and vehicle sales business they own in West Covina, she told KTLA.
When they were stopped by a West Covina Police Department patrol car, the couple provided proper documentation, Aquino said. Officers ran her husband’s ID, finding he was on probation for a gun violation, Aquino said.
One of the officers was polite at first, she said, but his demeanor changed when he found out her husband, Chris Moreno, was on probation.
Then officers ordered her and her husband Chris to get out of the vehicle because they wanted to search it. Aquino said she and Moreno asked for a higher-ranking officer to be present during the search, but the officers denied their request. They were complying when her husband was cuffed and was taken to the side of the car, she said.
She began recording while she was still in the vehicle and an officer approached her side of the car, soon telling her to put the phone down. She refused.
This is how she described it on her Facebook page.
So I’ve been debating on whether or not I should post this incident that happened to Chris and I last Thursday on our way into work. I’m only posting this to show people that it doesn’t matter if you are a law abiding citizen, the #westcovinapd are so crooked, everything you’ve heard about them is true. After this officer confiscated my phone, he then snatched me out of my car, my dress came up to my back leaving my bottom completely exposed and handcuffed me. I repeatedly asked him to pull my dress down or let me pull my dress down and he refused. This was all over a traffic stop for not having front plates which we proved that they were on their way. We both have our license and registration Meanwhile the other officer had my husband Chris on the floor kicking him and punching him in his face .. This was the WORSE most Traumatizing experience of my life. People don’t deserve to get treated like this. We were fully cooperative, I don’t understand why this happened to us. My kids go to school and play recreational sports in #westcovina, Our Businesses are in the heart of #westcovina! This whole experience has been a utter nightmare!!!
Aquina told KTLA that the cops had her husband on the ground, kicking and punching him.
So it appears she was right when she said the West Covina Police Department has made a bad name for themselves.
UPDATE: Since this video surfaced, another video surfaced showing West Covina cops trying to keep another citizen from recording them arresting a man in an apparent case of mistaken identity.