Tuscaloosa, AL – A hit-and-run suspect accused of resisting arrest, grabbing an officer by the genitals, and trying to take away an officer’s expandable baton said she plans to file a civil rights lawsuit against the police department (video below).
“I was beaten by two police officers,” 22-year-old Jhasmynn Sheppard told WBMA. “I was unarmed. And I did everything they asked me to.”
The news station actually labeled Sheppard to be a victim of the police.
“They know what they did was completely uncalled for,” Sheppard declared. “And this isn’t the end.”
The incident began on April 19, after Sheppard crashed into a vehicle on Old Greensboro Road, then fled the scene, Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson told The Tuscaloosa News.
A bystander followed her, and reported the incident to police.
Approximately 20 minutes later, Tuscaloosa Police Officer Cole Ward and Officer Steven Lackey located the hit-and-run vehicle near a Krispy Kreme store on McFarland Boulevard.
“You know why I stopped you,” one of the officers told her as he approached her driver’s side window, bodycam footage showed. “A guy’s been following you. Driver’s license, proof of insurance.”
Sheppard rummaged around her vehicle for several seconds before the officer told her to step out of the vehicle.
He then told her to place her hands behind her back, at which point Sheppard immediately began complaining and pulling away.
“Please don’t do me like this,” she said.
She then turned back towards him with only one of her hands cuffed, and tried to break his hold on her other wrist.
“Are you serious?” the officer asked in disbelief. “Have you lost your freakin’ mind?”
Sheppard pulled her hands towards her and begged the officer to let her go.
She managed to pull out of his grasp, then tumbled to the ground as she turned away from him, the video showed.
The officer’s bodycam fell off during the physical altercation that ensued.
“Looked like she was trying to run, and…she swung at him,” explained a bystander who recorded the scene with a cell phone.
The officer later said that Sheppard grabbed his genitals as she was fighting with him, bodycam footage showed.
"He's on top of me, my face is in the ground, I can't breathe," Sheppard later complained to WBMA. "He told me to get up, but I couldn't breathe, so I'm grabbing."
The officers repeatedly ordered Sheppard to give them her hands, and used expletives when she failed to comply, bodycam footage showed.
Cell phone footage showed one of the officers as he deployed his baton and struck the combative woman one time.
“That was horrible,” a bystander declared. “They shouldn’t a did that lady like that.”
Sheppard even tried to bite the officers during the scuffle, police said.
“If you bite me, you’re gonna loose every one of your f--king teeth! You understand me?” one officer warned.
The officers were ultimately able to wrestle Sheppard into handcuffs, and the officer retrieved his bodycam from the ground.
“You do anything other than what you’re told to right now, I’m gonna kick you in the teeth,” he told Sheppard, who was still sitting on the ground complaining.
He then told his partner that the combative woman was going to be charged with assault for attacking him.
“She grabbed me by the balls and squeezed,” he said.
“You’re lucky I didn’t put my gun in the back of your noggin’ and make you obey,” he told Sheppard.
He then accosted her for having tried to grab one of the officer’s expandable batons during the scuffle.
“When you grab this, I could have shot you!” he reiterated. “Do you understand me? Do you know how stupid you are?”
The officer also suffered injuries to his finger and knee during the scuffle, according to The Tuscaloosa News.
Sheppard was charged with assault, resisting arrest, and disarming law enforcement, but Chief Anderson said that he has spoken with the city attorney about dismissing the charges against her, WBMA reported.
Chief Anderson said that he initially believed the officers used reasonable force to subdue a combative suspect, but that he became “angry” and “disgusted” when he watched bodycam footage of the language used in the altercation, The Tuscaloosa News reported.
“The attitude, the language. The berating and making threats,” Chief Anderson said. “There’s no place for it. There’s no need for it.”
“I was disgusted by what I saw, by what I heard and I was embarrassed by it,” he added. “It does not reflect our core values here at the Tuscaloosa Police Department.”
Officer Ward and Officer Lackey have both been placed on desk duty while the case is being reviewed. They will then go before a disciplinary board, which will forward its recommendations to Chief Anderson.
Chief Anderson will subsequently formulate a recommendation to forward to the city prosecutor, and the officers will appear before the prosecutor and the city’s human resources director.
“Incidents like this can tear down all of our efforts and that’s a problem for me,” the chief said. “Now, we have to start the process over of gaining the public’s trust back.”
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has demanded that both officers be sent to prison for how they handled the combative woman’s arrest, WBMA reported.
"These are officers who did what they wanted to do to act in a manner in which they wanted to behave. So, they should be held accountable,” Tuscaloosa NAACP President Jerry Carter railed.
“I'm not talking about just losing their jobs,” Carter continued. “They need to go to the penitentiary like I would if I were out in the streets beating on a white lady. Do you know what I'm saying?”
Sheppard said she will be filing a civil rights lawsuit against the police department.
“I’m glad that everything was brought to the light finally and people see I wasn’t that aggressive, cruel, psychotic person they tried to make me out to be,” she told WBRC.
You can watch bodycam of the officers’ encounter with Sheppard in the video below: