A San Diego police officer is being investigated after he was caught on camera violently pulling a woman by her hair as her her home burned to the ground, Fox 5 News San Diego reports.
The episode unfolded as Torazzi Hayslett‘s home was burning down and she was unaware of the whereabouts of her husband. In the video, she is seen trying to approach the home as firefighters on the scene were holding her back. San Diego police officer Dan McLaughlin comes to aid the firefighters but Hayslett’s back is turned at that point.
“I was charged from behind. I had no clue who grabbed me. I reached out to the fire truck and my hand was removed,” Hayslett said.
Before officer McLaughlin arrived, however, it seems like the firefighters had the situation under control and her husband had arrived, too. In the video, he appears to be waving off the officer. Though she did not appear to notice that her husband was safe. In shock and fearing for her family’s safety, she slaps the officer twice.
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Haysletter says she had “tunnel vision” and did not realize that the man was a member of law enforcement.
The officer then aggressively charges the the woman and pulls her by the hair towards the ground. Alexander Hayslett says the officer’s actions appeared to be ego-driven. “It was like a power trip,” he said. “He just snapped and said ‘you’re going down.’”
The couple have hired a lawyer, but declined to say what legal actions, if any, they will pursue against the San Diego police department. The department has declined to comment on the case.
This is not the first time officer McLaughlin has been accused of excessive force. Back in 2009, a jury found him negligent in a lawsuit for unreasonable use of force against a homeless advocate. McLaughlin had to cough up nearly $4,000 in damages.