A Black California woman and her mother have filed a civil rights lawsuit after police left her with permanent scars due to the brutality they used during her arrest.
The incident occurred at Hemet resident Monet Hereford's home after police pulled over and arrested her daughter Mariah Hereford's fiancé, Ryan Gadison. Police also placed Monet and Mariah Hereford under arrest for filming the incident, an activity protected by the first amendment.
During Mariah's arrest, the Herefords and their attorney say police grabbed Mariah by the hair and repeatedly hit her head on the pavement while her children watched, leaving her with permanent scars on her forehead.
Because the officers slapped the Herefords' phones from their hands, the assault was not caught on video. But harrowing audio of the encounter reveals Mariah Hereford repeatedly yelled to officers that they were hurting her as her small children screamed throughout.
The Herefords' footage is below. Be warned that it is disturbing and contains profanity.
The incident began while Gadison was driving his Dodge Charger home from work and two Hemet Gang Enforcement officers pulled him over in front of Hereford's home.
Attorneys say Gadison was pulled over because he was "driving while Black" in a late-model car. Police have not confirmed their reason for stopping Gadison.
After informing him his license was suspended and searching his car without his consent, the officers placed Gadison under arrest.
Things escalated when the officers demanded the Herefords cease filming the altercation. When they refused, an officer slapped Monet Hereford's phone from her hands and placed her under arrest.
Officers then grabbed Mariah Hereford, and one of the Herefords' dogs became agitated and bit one of the officers. The Herefords and their attorney say one of the officers then charged at Mariah and brutalized her, bashing her head into the ground multiple times as her children, ages three and nine, watched.
Hereford's children can be heard screaming throughout the footage of the attack, at one point pleading with both their mother and the police officers.
“Stop! Just give them what they want! Just give them what they want... Please! Stop! Leave her alone! Leave her alone!”
The Herefords have filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Hemet Police Department. In a press conference, the Herefords' attorney, Toni Jaramilla, called the incident an atrocity.
Hemet family files suit against city, policewww.youtube.com
“This case is just atrocious. They had an absolute right to videotape what was happening, and that was what caused them to get angry and retaliate and violate their rights when they were doing that...”
“Nothing about Mariah and Monet Hereford was a threat to these officers or justified the brutality these officers inflicted on a mother and grandmother.”
On social media, the horrifying incident left many people shocked and outraged.
The Hemet Police Department has released body camera footage from the officers involved in the incident, along with a statement saying it "takes claims of excessive use of force or misconduct very seriously."