Homewood, AL — Homewood police department has launched an internal investigation after video of their officers assaulting a 59-year-old mother in Walmart has gone viral.
The victim, Brenda Rivers had done nothing wrong, committed no crime, and was minding her own business when she was targeted by police who mistook her for a criminal.
Without a warrant or reasonable articulable suspicion, as Rivers did not match the description of the actual suspect, police detained her and demanded they be allowed to search her belongings.
Knowing she had done nothing wrong, Rivers refused.
“He just accused her,” Rivers’ husband said, trying to explain to cops that they had just entered the store. “He wanted to go through her purse without a search warrant or anything. Our rights are being infringed.”
For demanding police get a warrant to search her, Rivers was assaulted, wrestled to the ground, placed in handcuffs, and humiliated as police detained her for nearly thirty minutes. All the while, her husband is demanding they stop the abuse.
Instead of simply reviewing the Walmart security camera footage, police went off half-cocked and just started grabbing and searching people. Rivers was the second woman to wrongfully be accused by police.
According to the bystanders in the video, even the woman who had her wallet stolen tried to tell police that it was not Rivers. However, they had already smelled blood in the water.
“I felt very emotional watching this go on. I had to record it because it’s time for something to be done about the mistreatment from police,” Jasmine Thomas, the woman who filmed the abuse, told AL.com. “This is unacceptable and the officer violated her rights. It’s very sad that we have to endure things like this or even witness it. I really hope this open everyone eyes and make them aware of what’s really going on now.”
According to Homewood police, officers were dispatched to Walmart around 8 p.m. after a woman who was shopping with her daughter claimed her wallet was stolen from her cart while she looked at toys. A wallet theft is apparently a felony in Homewood, Alabama.
However, the felony charge is irrelevant considering the fact that Rivers was not the one who committed the crime.
The video of the incident in Walmart has quickly begun to go viral as the excessive force used on this poor innocent woman is nothing short of blood-boiling.
“My mama is traumatized and my daddy is very disturbed at what happened,” said the couple’s daughter, Monica Dawkins. “She’s in a lot of pain. That was excessive force.”
“What if it was your mother?” Dawkins asked an officer as she protested Friday night. “How would you feel if it was your mother, 30 years older than you right now, and somebody body-slammed her to the floor? How would you feel? Would you not be angry? Would you not be hurt? Would you not want answers?”
In a press conference Friday night, Homewood police Lt. Eric Hampton said Homewood police want to be transparent. “We would like to ensure and foster trust, and also mutual respect, between the community, the Rivers family and our agency,” he said.
According to AL.com, activist Carlos Montez Chaverst Jr. said Rivers’ clothing didn’t fit the description of the suspect. The victim told police the suspect was wearing a skirt and boots, and Rivers was wearing burgundy pants and shoes. “She shouldn’t have been detained to begin with. There’s a lot of missing pieces to this deal,” Chaverst said.
“We’re ready to galvanize,” he said. “We want the mayor to speak out, we want the police chief to speak out. We’re asking for transparency. We want honest and full, complete details as to what happened.”
When AL.com asked about Chaverst about the police statement that accused Rivers of failing to comply with police, Chaverst said, “Comply? Police make up their own policies. Comply is whatever they say comply is. That’s how comply works.”
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