A Black woman intends to sue a police department in upstate New York for becoming violent and using “excessive force” during what she called an “unlawful arrest” for a decidedly non-violent allegation. The episode in the town of Ulster was recorded by a bystander as well as an officer’s body camera.
According to a press release, Shana Shaw was injured by Ulster County Deputy Sheriff Brian Woltman Jr. and an unidentified police officer after she was approached in a parking lot of is Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant for allegedly failing to signal a turn. Woltman Jr. also accused Shaw, 26, without any proof of driving with a suspended license, something she said had recently been cleared up. She said the papers showing her license was no longer suspended were at her home.
After she got out of the car at Woltman Jr.’s request, he immediately placed her under arrest.
“I can prove that I have everything cleared, though,” Shaw tells Woltman Jr., who repeatedly referred to her by her first name. As the two are standing between parked cars, Woltman counters by telling her not to make this “difficult.”
When he asked Shaw to walk toward him, she got back into her car to call her lawyer, prompting Woltman to lash out at her.
“Why are you grabbing me like that?” Shaw asks.
It was at that point when a bystander apparently began recording.
The bodycam video from Woltman’s perspective shows him violently yanking on Shaw’s arm trying to get her out of the car while yelling, “You’re under arrest!”
Shaw repeatedly pleads for him to “Stop!” and wails, “I’m not resisting!”
Woltman then threatens to use a Taser on her, calls for backup and employs an arm restraint on Shaw that caused her to shriek out of apparent pain.
“Let go of my arm!” Shaw screamed. “You’re hurting me!”
Another officer shows up a few minutes later and together he and Woltman Jr. yanked and dragged Shaw out of her vehicle.
Watch the harrowing footage below.
The press release sent by the Wagstaff law firm representing Shaw noted that neither officer never actually asked for her driver’s license and vehicle registration.
“Deputy Sheriff Brian Woltman Jr. used excessive force that resulted in Ms. Shaw getting a concussion, nerve damage in her wrist from the handcuffs, bruises on her body, putting her out of work for days,” the press release said.
Shaw was officially charged with resisting arrest, driving with a suspended license and marijuana possession.
“I feel fully taken advantage of,” Shaw told local news outlet Hudson Valey One. “I don’t think there needed to be two male officers to yoke up a girl that is 130 pounds, in her scrubs from work, and I’m an essential worker.”
She said she was disturbed by Wltman Jr.’s apparent familiarity with her even though she didn’t know him and was worried that the encounter could turn deadly.
“He knew who I was already. He proceeded to say step out of the car. In my head I don’t have enough information and he knows who I am so I felt uncomfortable…I am an African-American and cops are shooting us in the head and killing us,” Shaw added.
Woltman Jr. was previously accused of false detention and using excessive force against another woman who is suing Ulster County and Woltman Jr. for violating her civil rights. The press release said Shaw intended to join that lawsuit.
“Even if I broke a law, that was still excessive force,” Shaw said.