2 Ohio cops under investigation after video shows officer punching woman in the face | VIDEO

BySara Smart, Sharif Paget and Caroll Alvarado, CNN, CNNWire
Thursday, January 26, 2023
Ohio Police sergeant seen on video repeatedly punching woman in face
According to police, the woman was charged with resisting arrest and failure to identify.

Two Ohio police officers are under investigation after a video surfaced on social media of an officer punching a Black woman several times in the face outside a McDonald's, their police chief said.

Officers were dispatched Monday to the fast-food restaurant in Butler Township for a "report of a disorderly subject who was upset over a food order," Chief John Porter said Wednesday during a news conference.

The video shows Sgt. Todd Stanley and Officer Tim Zellers detaining Latinka Hancock in the McDonald's parking lot and Stanley striking Hancock in the face and head.

Hancock spent the night in the hospital, suffering from a busted lip, loose teeth and a back injury, her lawyer said Wednesday.

The case comes as police use of force, particularly against people of color, is under scrutiny nationwide.

Hancock had been cooperative when police arrived, then later became highly agitated and refused to identify herself when police asked for her information so they could issue her a trespassing notice, Porter said.

Police body camera footage of the incident was released during Wednesday's news conference.

At first, Hancock can be seen calmly explaining to the officers what happened with her order and with the McDonald's staff. The situation begins to escalate when Stanley asks for her name and she refuses.

One of the officers is heard telling Hancock to "calm down" and warning her she'll go to jail if she refuses to cooperate.

After she refuses to identify herself, the officers begin to arrest Hancock, and a struggle among the three ensues.

Stanley then punches Hancock in the face and head, police bodycam video shows.

Stanley punched Hancock while Zellers pointed a stun gun at her, according to another video that captured part of the struggle. It was filmed by Mario Robinson, who was at the McDonald's with his family on Monday to celebrate his daughter's fourth birthday.

Robinson then exits the McDonald's, approaches the officers, and asks, "Why did you punch her?" Police do not answer him.

An officer is later heard telling Hancock, "You just caused us to use force against you" while Hancock cries, police bodycam video shows. Hancock earlier had screamed, "Why did you punch me?" and "I didn't even hit you!" at the officers, bodycam footage shows.

Hancock was charged with resisting arrest and failure to identify, according to police. She also received citations for driving under suspension and an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.

The two officers tried to de-escalate the situation with Hancock, the chief said, noting Butler Township officers are trained in de-escalation.

"We do not specifically train to punch in the face unless it's a defensive tactic in order for the officer to have some type of defense," Porter said.

Stanley has been put on paid administrative leave while the department conducts its investigation. If the investigation concludes there was improper conduct, disciplinary actions will be recommended, Porter said.

CNN has reached out the Butler Township Police Department for further comment. The township is north of Dayton.

It began with the wrong McDonald's order

The situation started after Hancock realized she'd gotten an incorrect McDonald's Big Mac order, she said during a separate Wednesday news conference held by her attorney Michael Wright.

When she returned to the store with the order and her receipt, the manager instructed an employee to make the Big Mac correctly and add the extra piece of cheese that Hancock paid for, Wright said.

The situation escalated from there, as the employee refused to make the sandwich until Hancock paid for the extra cheese, he said. The store then refunded Hancock for the order, and police were called to remove Hancock from the establishment.

"McDonald's should be ashamed of resorting to calling the police over a disagreement for an order that they got wrong," Wright said.

The McDonald's store declined to comment to CNN.

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