Goodyear body cam video shows arrest during which woman was punched

Sep 17, 2018, 4:53 PM | Updated: Sep 18, 2018, 8:01 am

PHOENIX — The Goodyear Police Department released body camera footage of the arrest that spawned a viral video of an officer punching a woman in the face and dragging her on the ground.

The punch can’t be clearly seen in the police video, but the officer involved can be heard afterward telling other officers at the scene that he punched the woman, Renee Armenta.

“She pulls back, puts her hand behind her back like this,” the officer explained. “I punched her right in the face as she’s struggling with me.”

“He gets out of the car, so I drug her back so I could get a look on him and told him to get on the ground.”

A man could be seen getting out of the car with his hands up while the officer was engaged with Armenta. The man complied when the officer told him to put his hands up and get on the ground.

“I didn’t do anything, sir. Why did you punch me?” Armenta said while being cuffed.

“You resisted arrest,” the officer responded, just as more officers arrived on the scene.

After seeing the police footage, Armenta’s attorney expressed doubts about the officer’s story.

“It’s my understanding that he was terrified because he thought that she was going behind her back for something,” Anthony Ramirez told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday. “I didn’t see that on the video. It’s very concerning to me.”

In the video that first brought attention to the incident, the officer was seen punching Armenta in the face and dragging her, face down, along the ground by the arm. That video (WARNING: contains graphic language and violence), which was posted Sept. 6, has been viewed more than 300,000 times on Twitter.

After Armenta was dragged, the officer pulled his gun and pointed it toward the other side of the car. It wasn’t clear what the officer was pointing at in the first video, which was shot by bystanders in a nearby vehicle, but the police footage showed the male passenger getting out of Armenta’s car.

After the viral video came out, Goodyear Police said Armenta, who was stopped on Van Buren Street and Dysart Road in Avondale, had a suspended driver’s license.

In a statement, the department said “she began to retreat” when she was told she was under arrest.

Ramirez said the police report hadn’t yet been made available.

“Our next step has remained the same since when we first started representing her, which is to take care of the criminal charges that she’s facing and put those behind us,” he said. “Then we’ll look at the civil case.”

Goodyear Police handed off an investigation of the incident to the police department in nearby Surprise, citing “the continued interest of transparency and maintaining the public’s trust.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

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Goodyear body cam video shows arrest during which woman was punched