Phoenix police officer accused of injuring woman during traffic stop

Jul 15, 2020, 9:00 AM | Updated: 2:35 pm
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – A Phoenix police officer is facing misconduct allegations from a woman who says body-camera footage showed she was roughed up and injured during an arrest this year.

Mariah Valenzueula said she suffered injuries to her head, face, legs and hands when Officer Michael McGillis dropped her to the ground to handcuff her, according to The Guardian in London, England.

In video (Warning: Some images and language may be upsetting to some) obtained by the British newspaper, Valenzuela was pulled over near Seventh Avenue and Indian School Road, after McGillis saw a car heading in the wrong direction the night of Jan. 17. He called in to report the stop.

After both got out of their vehicles, McGillis asked the young woman for her driver’s license. She told him she didn’t have it with her. He then asked for any ID. Valenzuela turned back toward the vehicle, then turned back around to ask why she was pulled over.

Video showed McGillis telling her to put her hands behind her back, then raising his voice to repeat the instruction.

Valenzuela said no, then began screaming as they struggled.

“Why don’t you act like a young lady?” McGillis asked while she was facedown on the ground.

At one point Valenzuela told McGillis that he was hurting her, and asked why he tackled her.

Other officers eventually arrived. After Valenzuela was restrained, another officer got on the radio and said she was bleeding from a cut on her head.

The paper said Valenzuela was bruised and bleeding.

The person on the other end of the line asked if Valenzuela “was alleging any misconduct or anything?”

The officer in the car said, “She thinks she was kind of manhandled.”

Police said in an email to KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday night that a supervisor overheard making a “CYA” comment was “directing officers to complete a use-of-force report.”

Sgt. Ann Justus said Valenzuela was arrested for resisting arrest and DUI. The newspaper reported that blood-alcohol tests showed Valenzuela was under the legal limit of 0.08.

Justus said that the department had reviewed the footage and “determined there was no violation of policy” on McGillis’ part.

She added that there were no sustained misconduct allegations against McGillis in the last five years.

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Phoenix police officer accused of injuring woman during traffic stop