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Woman accuses Gilbert officer of causing ‘traumatic brain injury’

PHOENIX — A woman has filed a federal complaint against a Gilbert police officer who she says caused her to suffer a “traumatic brain injury” during an arrest.

In the complaint filed earlier this month, Mesa resident Samantha Glass said Officer Christopher Robinson used excessive force when he arrested her March 9, 2018, at an apartment complex near Gilbert and Warner roads.

According to the document, a “visibly inebriated” Glass went to an apartment to meet with her ex-husband and discuss their daughter.

They got into an argument and he walked away, the complaint said, so Glass tried to enter his truck to wait for him, but it was locked.

A resident believed Glass was trying to break into the vehicle and called 911, according to the complaint.

Glass was contacted by Robinson while she sat outside her ex-husband’s apartment.

She tried to call her ex-husband and leave when he did not answer, but Robinson told her she was not free to go and grabbed her arm.

According to the complaint, Glass panicked and pulled back on her arm, and Robinson pushed her face down to the concrete.

Body camera video shows Glass on the ground crying as blood pools around her face.

Glass is seeking damages for physical injuries, psychological trauma, medical expenses, economic losses and permanent scarring.

“She has sustained lasting injuries and consequences from this. She has had severe headaches since this incident,” her attorney Scott Halverson told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

“This was a mild traumatic brain injury otherwise known as a severe concussion, and the post-concussive symptoms can linger on for years and sometimes even indefinitely.”

The Gilbert Police Department said in a statement Tuesday that it is “unable to provide any commentary on pending civil litigation.”

The police report identifies the man involved as Glass’ ex-boyfriend, not her ex-husband.

In the report, Robinson said Glass attempted to elbow him while he was trying to detain her.

“Due to Sam’s efforts in both actively resisting and aggressing toward me, I conducted a leg sweep of her right leg in an effort to push her elbow to the ground and handcuff her,” the report says.

“Sam’s face struck the landing and I was able to handcuff her with the assistance of Sgt. Campbell. I assisted her to a sitting position and observed blood on her face and the ground. It appeared that Sam`s bottom lip split from the impact with the ground.”

Retired Phoenix Police Sgt. Darren Burch told KTAR News’ Bruce St. James & Pamela Hughes Show on Tuesday that Robinson’s actions were justified.

“The officer was trying to de-escalate. His approach was perfect … he breaks it down to a personable level,” he said.

Burch said that once Glass became combative, Robinson used the “appropriate amount of force.”

“Whether she’s intoxicated or not isn’t really an issue in terms of your ability to stop her combative nature, her resisting and be able to put those handcuffs on safely,” he said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nailea Leon contributed to this report. 

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