A 16-year-old girl was riding a minibike through a residential neighborhood in Southern California when she was stopped by Rialto police who were caught on video spinning her to the ground and placing a hand on her neck while trying to arrest her.
Rialto police say the girl was riding at an “unsafe speed” but minibikes generally don’t travel faster than 25 mph which is the general speed limit on most residential streets.
Nevertheless, minibikes are not street legal in Rialto or in most places in the U.S. so police had a reason to stop her.
But did one of the cops have a reason to spin her to the ground, then place his knee on her body and his hand on her neck?
Considering the Rialto Police Chief has already apologized to the girl’s family, it does not appear as if they will try to justify this one.
The video was recorded from across the street and begins as two cops each have their hands on one of the girl’s wrists.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” one of the cops tells her.
The girl is in distress and turns to the man recording and begins to tell him to get her brother when one of the cop spins her to the ground.
The girl tries to get back up but the cop piles on top of her.
“Did you just try to bite me?” the cop yells as the girl cries and he places his hand on her neck.
“Call my brother,” she repeatedly tells the man recording.
A second video then shows the cops shoving the girl into the back of a patrol car.
Rialto police initially charged the girl with assault on an officer but that was before local media picked up the story and began asking questions.
Since then, Rialto Police Chief Mark Kling issued the following statement in a press release:
The juvenile was stopped for riding an illegal street pocket bike and traveling at an unsafe speed on a residential street. During the investigation the juvenile refused to identify herself, including where she lived and provided false information about her age. Because officers could not prove her identity, or release the juvenile to her parents with a citation to appear in juvenile court, she was arrested. A brief snapshot video was recorded by a bystander and posted to social media platforms. The video clip has now been reported by several media outlets.
Chief Mark Kling said, “I have personally viewed officer body worn camera footage and although the video depicts the juvenile resisting officers, we are investigating the officer’s decision to trip the juvenile to the ground and later placing his hand on the juvenile’s throat during the arrest. After preliminary review of the incident, I have requested an independent investigation by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations to determine if the officer’s use of force options were lawful. I have also ordered an internal affairs investigation into the officer’s actions. Our investigation will determine if department policies, rules or procedures were violated. Per department directives, confirmed violations of policy will lead to disciplinary action.
Chief Kling concluded with, “We apologize to the juvenile’s family regarding these unfortunate circumstances. At a time when our police department strives to build community relationships, we certainly fell short in this encounter. We look forward to building rapport with this family now and in the future.”
The girl’s name has not been release but a woman who is apparently the girl’s mother has been posting videos from the incident on Tik Tok under the hashtag #freeshayla2turnt, including a few from a hospital bed showing the girl being treated.
Another video shows the girl in a car with a cast on her right arm after leaving the hospital.