Tucson Police Chief: Video of Officer Shoving Woman Is "Disturbing"

Categories: News
tucson-riot.jpg
Sam Salzwedel
Footage from the scene of confrontations between police and UA basketball fans this weekend in Tucson.


Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor says an internal-affairs investigation is under way after a video surfaced of a police officer apparently blindsiding a woman after the University of Arizona basketball game on Saturday.

"Any time you see a video like that, it's concerning, and it's disturbing," Villaseñor tells New Times.

See also:
-Tucson Police Arrest 15 After UA Game; Video Shows Woman Blindsided by Cop

Fifteen people were arrested Saturday night in the area of Main Gate Square -- a district with bars and restaurants that abuts the UA campus -- after UA lost to Wisconsin in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

What's gotten the most attention is the video of the police officer, dressed in riot gear, blindsiding a woman, whose body was thrown onto a bench.

"Often times [in the case of alleged police brutality videos,] there's other information that comes to light that you have to consider at well," Villaseñor says. "I'm not saying that exonerates him."

In the video, the woman and the officer only enter the frame within a second of the shoving, so it doesn't give the viewer doesn't know what was going on before that. However, based on her reaction, and the reaction of a man walking next to her, they were not expecting anything like that.



Villaseñor says the officer has already been interviewed, and added that 50 of the officers there had body-mounted cameras, so they're in the process of seeing if there's more to the incident.

According to Tucson PD, officers were trying to clear the streets after the game ended, but:
The majority of the crowd did not respond to the dispersal order and began throwing beer bottles, beer cans, and firecrackers at the officers. Several firecrackers rolled underneath a patrol vehicle deployed with the Mobile Field Force Units. As the crowd began to move closer to the officers, pepper ball rounds were used in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Several individuals continued to advance at the officers and were taken into custody.
Nine of the 15 people arrested are UA students, according to police.

In a statement, police also outlined the munitions used to combat the basketball fans: four foam baton rounds, two other non-lethal rounds, nine aerosol pepper-spray vapor canisters, and 200 pepper-spray rounds.

We asked Villaseñor if that seemed like a bit much. He replied that it's "really not a lot."

He says many more of these devices were used in the 1997 and 2001 Tucson riots, after UA basketball won the national championship, and lost the national championship, respectively. (Villaseñor's been with the department since 1980.)

Then, there was a lot of serious damage, including cars being overturned, fires being set, and things of the like.

Video footage of the 2001 riots:


In addition to the video of the officer shoving the woman, Villaseñor says there were two other internal-affairs complaints filed regarding Saturday night.

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75 comments
DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Cops are lowlife violent Neanderthal scumbags with badges and guns.

Joe Treanor
Joe Treanor

Some asshat named Tyler Charles Boring had it taken off of YouTube. How about posting a mirror link, Phoenix New Times?

Christian Paul
Christian Paul

Assault by officer arrest him for aggravated assault

Wendy Pemberton
Wendy Pemberton

NO ONE can put themselves in an actual REAL POLICE/FIRE PERSONELL/MILITARY/SECURITY, etc position. We can ONLY "TRY" to imagine,.. what it is actually like and what we THINK we could do or want to do.

Wendy Pemberton
Wendy Pemberton

The officers have to be ready for whatever people are going to do.

Larry Gulliford
Larry Gulliford

When was the last time we had an ASU fans riot in Tempe?

Tim Fitchner
Tim Fitchner

She was standing there he walked up to her and asulted her.You just look like a woman bashing faggot to me pal.

Eric Turcott
Eric Turcott

Tuscon police chief: "shit i guess we got caught this time" #derp

Suzanne Rosen Kostman
Suzanne Rosen Kostman

A complete and utter overuse of force! The girl was just waking by and he charged her. He should be charged. I'm sure it wasn't his first time doing crap like that!

Nate Nelson
Nate Nelson

All I am saying is that the police are wrong to make a crowd dissemble-just because they can... The 97 incident(s) went down after 0100 hours, which was when Arizona as a state stop selling alcohol and the majority of the night life would close down... All instances of so called rowdy and upset "fan" activity since have been brought by over zealous law enforcement trying to punk folk who have right to assemble. As the businesses in the area were still open.... The cops incited shit, period.

Jesse Gray
Jesse Gray

A. He didn't just "push her back", he pushed her over a bench. B. It didn't appear to me that she approached him, it looked like she was just walking and he quickly approached her and shoved her. Nothing in what she was doing appeared remotely violent or provocative. C. "They were there to keep the riot from getting way out of hand" How, exactly, does inciting violence do that?

Chad Gosar
Chad Gosar

Too bad they don't riot like that when a psychotic murderer shoots a little girl in the back and a congresswoman in the head. Messed up priorities.

leonardclark
leonardclark

Rather ironic the day after the Albuquerque police put down a peaceful protest by claiming they did not have a permit to suffer their first amendment rights. Of course, when peacefully assembling American citizens are told they don't have a right to peacefully protest under the First Amendment they get pissed off. Welcome to Amerika....where...the police have now become militarized. And beleive me...I know what being "militarized" due to serving as a military police soldier in Iraq 05-06 in a war zone. The only difference is...our country should not be a war zone.


Both the left and the right and all American citizens should be deeply concerned about what is happening to our democratic/constitutional republic with the death of "Posse Comitiatus" due to what called "undeclared war/ Long War" that powerful government officials in both parties have said will go beyond even the lives of our own grandchildren (in other words...a "blank check" to take what's left of our constitutional liberties in this country ! )


As a veteran...watching my former fellow soldiers serving in the police forces around the country being used to help destroy what we fought for and for what we paid for in blood and lives...it greatly saddens me.

I appeal to all of my fellow soldiers and veterans...please...don't bring the un-declared war here to our beloved American democratic/constitutional republic. 


p.s. they just happened to make this video disappear that was placed in the article..they don't want to have the video "out there" like the execution of the poor and homeless man in Albuquerque earlier this month. 


Respectfully, Leonard Clark

Persian Gulf vet 90-91

O.I.F. III vet 05-06

Kenny Benally
Kenny Benally

@ Jesse Gray, I know that! What he did was terrible, but she should not have approached a riot cop in the first place is what i keep saying, but you're obviously not getting my point. They were there to keep the riot from getting way out of hand. What the girl did was walk toward the riot cop which she shouldn't have done. You're making it sound like she was beaten with a baton or something. All the cop did was push her back, because she got close to the line.

Jesse Gray
Jesse Gray

The girl wasn't one of the rioting students you're talking about, so your point is moot. If she was committing some crime (which there is no evidence of), he should have arrested her. Donning a police uniform doesn't give somebody the right to go randomly assaulting anybody they feel like.

Greg Guerrero
Greg Guerrero

Nobody asks : if the cops weren't there in riot gear; would there have been a riot in the first place..... Can't have control without chaos .... Remember who does the thinking for these mobs in the first place

Erik Bradley
Erik Bradley

In watching the video, there was nothing the eating that she was doin. That was gutless and unnecessary...if she was anything close to being in the wrong, she would have been arrested. But the cop needs his ass handed to him. This happens to often and glad he got caught

Sara Davis
Sara Davis

She didnt look hurt and you see cops in riot gear stay away you know nothing good is going on.

Dustin Mitchell
Dustin Mitchell

Complete gutless and bullshit thing to do to that poor girl.. that in itself could have caused a riot situation to really happen from angry bystandards... ridiculous.

Kenny Benally
Kenny Benally

Also, from reports and some other videos that are around on the web, the students were in the streets hopping up and down having waht looked like a street party. They sure looked like they were going home alright. Probably drunk as all hell too.

Kenny Benally
Kenny Benally

I did watch the video. The girl walked towards the cop in riot gear and he went to push her back it seemed, but her tiny frame wasn't strong enough to take the brunt of the shove and she also tripped backward on what looked like a bike rack or a bench making it look like he blew her right off her feet. I'm not saying it's right, but if there are cops there any riot gear.... I'd get away from the commotion and go around the areas that are blocked off, or wait until the commotion dies down to get home. Common sense! Use it and shit like this doesn't happen! And this Riot was fuckin' stupid to begin with. There's no denying that.

John Parrish
John Parrish

More disturbing is that those idiots felt they needed to riot after losing a GAME? It's just a game! But then wouldnt xpect north nogales tech students to understand! Ha ha ha

Nate Nelson
Nate Nelson

TPD and the city of Tucson are whack... how you going to tell folk to vacate the area when businesses are still open... folk congregate there every weekend.. yeah the game doubled the crowd and of course 1 time needed to have a larger prescense.. but to tell folk to disassemble from an area that clearly markets to night life is a little over the top

Patty Garcia
Patty Garcia

David Holliday, thats a mean thing to say. I hope shes ok n that cop gets fired. Wishful thinking, but thats just so wrong.

Richard Garrison
Richard Garrison

Tucson police proudly beating the shit out of people since 1978!

Joe Rollins
Joe Rollins

That cop is going to make so much money for the next 6 months while he's on paid leave (with benefits) while they do an investigation into the incident. He will of course be found not guilty of any wrongdoing and will serve an incredibly long 10 day suspension with pay after that. Because fuck citizens. Cops can do no wrong in their own eyes.

Anthony Hagen
Anthony Hagen

You had one job to do and you totally messed it up!

Joshua Wimbs
Joshua Wimbs

I think a paid suspension and a strong worded report are in order here..

1wayfaringpilgrim
1wayfaringpilgrim

I'd like to see what happens when you actually use your brain . . . . if you have one.

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