Video of St. Charles Parish Deputy Punching Woman During Arrest Goes Viral, Body Cam Footage Released
A shocking video of a St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Deputy shoving and punching a woman in the face has gone viral on social media, sparking mixed reactions from viewers.
A woman, identified by the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office as MaryLee Breon Robinson, is seen being shoved into a mobile home and punched by a deputy in the cell phone video that has made its rounds on Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms.
The officer seen pushing Robinson back into the mobile home has been identified as St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Deputy Henry Sill. After the woman falls to the ground, Sill grabs at her arms before falling on top of her and punching her twice in the face. He then makes an attempt to handcuff her.
Once the video began to circulate, there were many viewers who were outraged at what they saw in the clip, calling the officer's actions "unnecessary" and "excessive."
Activist and U.S. Senate candidate Gary Chambers shared the video on his Instagram account, calling for the Sill to be terminated, adding that whatever happened prior to the incident is irrelevant because "his life was NOT in danger."
This St. Charles Sheriff’s deputy needs to be fired immediately. He throws a Black woman against a building, strikes her in the face, and then begins to push her into the ground. Let me end by saying his life was NOT in danger here, so his actions are unacceptable no matter what happened prior to this.
On Wednesday, the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office released bodycam footage along with a press release in regards to the May 2 incident in Luling. The release contained their report of what happened before and after the video that was captured by a bystander.
According to the sheriff’s office, yesterday (May 2) at approximately 8 p.m. deputies, while working an unrelated incident in the 1300 block of Paul Fredrick Street in Luling, spotted a known wanted subject with a felony probation warrant walking on the street. The SCPSO press release described Robinson as “a convicted felon with a violent history” and claimed that Robinson fled on foot after ignoring spoken commands from officers.
Deputy Henry Sill deployed his department-issued taser to attempt to subdue Robinson to take him into custody. The taser was ineffective and Robinson continued to flee. An assisting officer was able to detain Robinson and take him into custody. While searching Robinson after his arrest, a female subject approached deputies while recording Robinson and attempting to speak to him. The female was later identified as his sister, MaryLee Breon Robinson, a 30-year-old female from Paul Fredrick Street in Luling.
According to the press release obtained by the St. Charles Herald-Guide, Keith Robinson, Jr. was "agitated" by the presence of her sister and officers told her she could record the incident but needed to "stay in her yard" to do so.
As Keith Robinson, Jr. was being placed into the rear of the police unit, MaryLee Robinson approached deputies from the rear of the unit, in the middle of the street. She was again recording and shouting at Keith Robinson, Jr. and deputies. MaryLee Robinson was again told she could record but to back away from the investigation, at which time she vocalized that she would not listen to deputies’ orders. As Deputy Sill approached MaryLee Robinson to place her into custody, she fled on foot. Deputy Sill made contact with MaryLee Robinson a short time later and was met with active resistance. MaryLee Robinson refused to place her hands behind her back or comply with spoken commands and struck Deputy Sill in the face. Several friends and family members then began shouting and approaching deputies on the scene. MaryLee Robinson continued to agitate and incite Keith Robinson, Jr. and the crowd on the scene.
The St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Department released the following footage from Deputy Sill's bodycam.
The bodycam video was met with mixed reactions as some felt like the press release did not line up with what they saw in the footage while others claimed that as terrible as the incident looked, the officer was technically still acting within his authority. The press release from the department claimed that Sill pushed Robinson to "create distance, at which point she fell to the ground."
While the tens of thousands of viewers described Sill's blows to Robinson as punches, the press release claims the deputy used "an empty hand distraction."
Deputy Sill moved in to effect an arrest, when MaryLee Robinson swung at Deputy Sill and kicked at him. Deputy Sill felt his taser holster crack upon MaryLee Robinson’s kick, glanced down and realized his taser was no longer on his duty belt. MaryLee Robinson continued to actively resist arrest, at which point Deputy Sill used an empty hand distraction technique to gain control and take her into custody. This was successful.
Another deputy is seen entering the frame to assist Sill and Robinson was arrested.
She continued to actively resist and was placed into the rear of a police unit. She continuously kicked the rear windows and doors of the unit. MaryLee Robinson refused medical treatment on the scene. When booked into the Nelson Coleman Correctional Center Medical Staff observed no visible marks or scratches.
According to the Herald-Guide, MaryLee Robinson was booked and charged with "interfering with a law enforcement investigation, two counts of simple criminal damage to property, battery of a police officer, disturbing the peace and resisting an officer with force or violence."
The press release states that there is an administrative investigation going on in regards to the incident that has only fueled more outrage on social media now that the bodycam footage has been made available.
Use-of-force experts reviewed the video footage, telling The Times-Picayune that while Sill had probable cause and acted within his authority, the footage still looked terrible and a review of the incident would determine there would have been better courses of action for him to take.
In my view, as an expert, what he did was not unreasonable given the totality of the circumstances. But it does not look pretty. The use of force may be justifiable, but it does not look good.
Robinson's family members believe Sill was angered by MaryLee's words and it triggered his reaction.
She didn't touch him. He bum-rushed her so bad, she didn't have time to struggle or fight back.
You can see the full story here via NOLA.com