A Miami woman arrested Wednesday in Rock Hill says police were wrong and injured her using excessive force.
However, the police department says Patricia Pizer assaulted the officer after repeatedly being told not to meddle in the situation that did not involve her. Police say she threw a drink in the officer’s face and punched the officer.
The police department said it has the incident on video from an officer’s body camera and store surveillance, but the police department has declined to release the videos.
Police car dash cam video was not recorded because the officer had not turned on his blue lights, which activates the camera, police said.
The officer “made a lawful arrest and used force necessary to effect the arrest of Ms. Pizer,” according to a written statement released by the department after what the department said was a review of video evidence and witness interviews.
The incident received attention online after Pizer’s husband and others posted about what happened on Facebook and other social media.
Pizer, 53, was charged at about 5 p.m. Wednesday with hindering police and assaulting a police officer while resisting arrest.
According to a Rock Hill police report, Pizer was arrested at the Riverview Road QuikTrip after trying to stop a police officer from arresting another person.
Rock Hill police had been called to the convenience store and gas station in response to a domestic fight between two people, the incident report states. The report says Pizer, who was not in the dispute, got in between the arresting officer and one of the people, “pleading he didn’t do anything wrong and we were arresting the wrong person.”
Pizer said she videoed the incident with her cell phoned when police arrived. The police report says officers told her she would be arrested for hindering police if she didn’t walk away.
The police report says a Rock Hill officer “grabbed her left arm placing a handcuff on.” Pizer then threw a cold beverage in the officer’s face and “took her right hand in a closed fist, and maliciously struck” the officer, the report says.
The police report says Pizer grabbed the door handle of the QT and screamed when officers tried to arrest her. The arresting officer “struck Pizer’s right forearm in order to break her grip on the door handle” and “foot swept” her to the ground, the report says.
When she tried to get up, the officer “pushed her back down to the ground” and Pizer “struck her front teeth on the pavement and screamed in pain,” the report says.
Pizer spent Wednesday night in jail and was released Thursday on bond. After she was released, Pizer and her husband, Thomas Pizer, told The Herald outside the police department that the force used was excessive and she tried to help a woman she heard crying in the store’s restroom.
“I went to try and diffuse the situation,” Patricia Pizer said.
Patricia Pizer called the police tactics “ridiculous.”
Pizer said the officer “body-checked” her several times after she tried to intervene. She said she took out her phone to start videoing the incident and was told she was going to be arrested. Pizer said she wanted to take video because of other police and public interactions throughout the country.
Pizer said she recalled the officer “might have said once” that she would be arrested for hindering police if she did not stop trying to intervene before she pulled out her phone to video.
“He smashed the camera out of my hand,” Pizer said of the officer. “I pulled my hand back to protect myself. He kept saying ‘you have to leave.’”
Pizer then said she started screaming for help, and when she was taken into custody, she was injured.
“I was hit in the back of my head and fell to the ground and that’s when my teeth were broken,” she said.
Pizer then said she was further injured by the tight handcuffs and her knee was scraped.
The police report says she threw a drink in the officer’s face then punched the officer. Pizer said she had a glass of water in her hand and she “didn’t do anything to be arrested that I know of.”
The Rock Hill Police Department said in a statement Thursday afternoon there is police body camera video and store surveillance video from the incident, but would not release the tapes to The Herald. The department says the investigation shows Pizer instigated the problem.
The statement says the officer handcuffed two people, a white male and female, police said.
Pizer, an uninvolved party, then “interjected herself” into the situation, police said.
Pizer grabbed the officer’s arm to try to prevent the officer from handcuffing one of the people involved, the statement said.
“Ms. Pizer continued to inject herself by grabbing the officer and stepping between the officer and other parties. At one point, Ms. Pizer caused the officer to drop his handcuffs. After receiving several warnings and continuing her behavior, the officer made the decision to arrest Ms. Pizer for hindering police,” the statement says.
After the officer told Pizer she was going to be arrested, police said this is what happened: “Ms. Pizer walked away and the officer followed. The officer approached Ms. Pizer to place her in handcuffs when Ms. Pizer punched the officer in the head twice, and kicked the officer once. The officer then attempted to put Ms. Pizer on the ground, however she grabbed the handle of the door to the store. The officer pulled Ms. Pizer to break her grip on the door. The officer then put Ms. Pizer on the ground and continued to attempt placing her in handcuffs. A backup officer arrived and Ms. Pizer was taken into custody.”
Police said Pizer was treated by EMS at the scene then assisted with medical needs including medication while at the city jail.
Her husband, who was not at the scene, said after bailing his wife out of jail that he plans to make a complaint against the police department, the officer and is considering legal action. The force used was “excessive,” he said.
“Everything that happened between the officer and her was uncalled for, and he (the officer) will be called to account,” Thomas Pizer said.
Thomas Pizer said the couple were in Rock Hill for business and were supposed to return to Florida Thursday.