Instances of police brutality and racial bias against Black and brown people were unfortunately already a thing before George Floyd was murdered last year.
Stephanie Bottom, an Atlanta-based librarian, was arrested for speeding in 2019 in North Carolina. Her case is still under investigation.
Bottom, who is 68, was 66 years old at the time of the incident. That day, she was on her way to a funeral in Raleigh, North Carolina and traveling on the interstate where the speed limit is 80 MPH.
Bottom stated she was driving above the speed limit, approximately 10 MPH over.
One police officer appeared behind her and turned on his lights for Bottom to pull over. Bottom also had music playing loudly in her car and claimed she did not notice the police officer in her rearview mirror signaling her to pull over.
Over the next 10 miles or 6 minutes, the situation escalated as Bottom still had not pulled over. Two more police cars were added to the pursuit and a spike strip was deployed to stop her.
When Bottom noticed the three cars, she looked for a place to pull over.
But once her vehicle stopped, she was not briefed on the infraction, speeding and failure to stop, and given a speeding ticket. Officers approached the car with guns drawn and violently pulled her from the car then threw her to the ground.
Bodycam footage, recorded by one of the officers, was finally released after Bottom sued the department over her injuries.
You can watch here:
WARNING GRAPHIC ⚠️ New body cam shows police in North Carolina assaulting a 66-year-old Black woman and grabbing he… https://t.co/eHdmM2uNY3— Fifty Shades of Whey (@Fifty Shades of Whey)1619405545.0
GRAPHIC ⚠️ This is part 2 of police in North Carolina assaulting an elderly Black librarian on her way to a funeral https://t.co/WPmTwus3Qc— Fifty Shades of Whey (@Fifty Shades of Whey)1619406050.0
In the video, two of the officers can be seen pulling the older woman from her car, grabbing her by one of her arms and pulling her by a fistful of hair. Bottom lost some of her hair and her rotator cuff on her left arm was torn.
Officers forced Bottom down which is when she said she heard a loud pop at her left shoulder. They then handcuffed her hands behind her back, which appeared physically difficult for the woman to comply with.
The officers had Bottom sit on the ground, still in handcuffs, while they searched her vehicle.
Once she was on the ground, Bottom stated:
"[I] wasn't running, I was just driving."
One officer replied:
"You're going to jail now."
Another officer stated:
"Ma'am, there were three police officers behind you for about 10 miles [6 minutes]. It was a simple traffic stop. All we had to do was write you a ticket, and you turned it into this."
Later in the footage, one officer could be heard saying:
"That's good police work, baby."
Then another officer bragged about "grabbing a handful of dreads" and added:
"At that point, she earned it."
Stephanie Bottom filed a report and sued the police department for the officers' behavior and handling of the situation. According to her suit, Bottom was taken to jail and not provided with medical care for an hour.
The case is still under investigation. The department has not released any details.
Twitter was upset at how an older, unarmed woman was treated.
@davenewworld_2 If a cop acts worse than what they're charging a person w the charges shld be dismissed & rendered… https://t.co/n7naATLgdx— LippyLibby #FreeRealityWinner (@LippyLibby #FreeRealityWinner)1619438726.0
@Kuromi_ca @davenewworld_2 It's despicable. It's morally reprehensible. We need comprehensive police reform now. Ra… https://t.co/MhGQH2Ts8g— RICO the GQP Fascists (@RICO the GQP Fascists)1619406557.0
@davenewworld_2 Until police pensions are put on the line for this kind of behavior, we will continue to see this k… https://t.co/pqZICYWAE1— Jlt666 💉💉 (@Jlt666 💉💉)1619443649.0
@davenewworld_2 I’d love to see how these vermin would act if someone treated their mother or grandmother this way.… https://t.co/jQyUsAg3yX— Judy Flinchum (@Judy Flinchum)1619406579.0
Though it's important to abide by the law, how police handle these situations has come into question for good reason.
When the arrest is more severe than the crime, is it the proper punishment?