ABC: Fired officer claims woman's 'fall' gave her black eyes, broken teeth
After Angela Garbarino was arrested in Shreveport, Louisiana last November on suspicion of drunk driving, she wound up lying on the police station floor in a pool of her own blood with two black eyes, a broken nose, two broken teeth, and other cuts and bruises.
Garbarino says that Officer Wiley Willis beat her up after turning off the police video camera. Willis's attorney insists that Garbarino slipped and fell when Willis tried to prevent her from leaving the room. However, Garbarino says that the extent of her injuries are proof that she was beaten.
The police video obtained by ABC News shows Garbarino demanding the right to make a phone call. "I have the right to call somebody right now and I know that," she yells. Officer Willis instead begins handcuffing her. She wiggles away, he pulls her back sharply by her wrists, and she hits the wall and falls on the floor.
Willis pushes her down into a chair three successive times as she repeatedly stands up again, increasingly distraught and screaming, "Get away from me!" Willis is finally shown leaning over her and asking, "Do you understand me?" to which she replies, "Yeah, I understand." Willis then walks over and turns off the camera.
When the video resumes, Garbarino is lying in the floor in a pool of her own blood. There is an apparent cut in what ABC aired, but according to KTBS in Shreveport, Willis turns Garbarino on her back, telling her, "Lay down, donít move," and she replies, "I can't believe you just did what you just did. I really can't."
Willis has since been dismissed from the police force. KTBS states that "Willis was fired by Police Chief Henry Whitehorn earlier this month for how he treated Garbarino during the whole episode, not for her injuries."
Willis is appealing his dismissal, and his attorney insists that his client was following procedures in turning off the camera. According to KTBS, "Authorities familiar with Shreveport police policy said a person is read their rights and gets an explanation of what's going to happen next. That is followed by a sobriety test. If the person refuses, the officer can turn off the tape and take them to an adjoining room, handcuff them to a bench, fill out the paperwork and charge them."
However, experts suggested to ABC that Willis should have called for female backup when Garbarino began resisting. One criminologist stated, "I think we have a situation where the arrested person is refusing to cooperate and the police officer apparently overreacted."
The complete ABC story can be found here.
This video is from ABC's Good Morning America, broadcast February 19, 2008.