Body camera video: Did San Diego County sheriff's deputies use excessive force?

SAN DIEGO - A Vista woman is going toe to toe against the San Diego Sheriff's Department, claiming she was handled roughly during a traffic stop that resulted in her arrest.

It all started on Oct. 11, 2013 when sheriff's deputies pulled over Bana Mouwakeh in the 2000 block of West San Marcos Boulevard after she was clocked at 69 mph in a 50 mph zone.

It was during that traffic stop that the San Diego Sheriff's Department says Mouwakeh reached up toward one of the deputies, grabbed his safety vest and ripped it off. The deputies then, with some effort, pulled Mouwakeh from the vehicle and placed her under arrest on charges of battery and resisting arrest.

The manner in which it all happened is what is in question.

Mouwakeh claims excessive force was used and her attorney, Mary Frances Prevost, is working to get the charges of battery and resisting arrest dropped.

Prevost is vocal about the case and believes there may be others out there who might have similar claims against deputies with the San Diego Sheriff's Department. She said she may file a complaint with the civil rights division of the FBI.

"I think it's warranted in this case," she said.

The incident was captured on video via a body camera that was on one of the deputies. Prevost shared that sheriff's department video on her law firm's Facebook page:

 


The San Diego Sheriff's Department has a different take on what happened. In their arrest report they state that Mouwakeh became increasingly agitated with the deputy at her window and was argumentative.

"Mouwakeh refused to sign the citation and began to argue with Deputy Rosas," the arrest report reads. "Mouwakeh reached out the vehicle and grabbed Deputy Rosas' person and his uniform. Deputy Rosas and Rogers instructed Mouwakeh to get out of her vehicle. Mouwakeh refused to comply with their instructions, Deputy Rosas and Deputy Rogers had to remove Mouwakeh from her vehicle. Since Deputy Rogers and Rosas were restraining Mouwakeh, I handcuffed her."

Also, what you don't see in the video is what happened just prior to the altercation. Here's more from the arrest report:

"When I contacted the driver of the silver Jetta that was later identified as Bana Mouwakeh, she was upset and said "Why did you stop me!" I showed her the laser and told her that I stopped her for going 69 mph in a 50 mph zone. The driver then yelled at me and said "Everyone else was speeding also." "

"I was not going to sit and argue with her, so I asked her for her driver's license and registration. Mouwakeh continued to try and argue her case, so I told her again that I needed her driver's license and registration. Mouwakeh continued to yell at me. I then said, "I'll need your license and registration. If you don't give me your license and registration, I am going to have to arrest you." I set my laser on her windshield, so it would not drop. Mouwakeh then took out her license and handed it to me."

"I walked back to my patrol vehicle and wrote her a citation for violating 22350 CVC. After I was done with the citation, I walked back over to her vehicle. I handed Mouwakeh her driver's license and registration card. As I was explaining to Mouwakeh the citation, she reached out the driver's side window, grabbed my Sheriff's Department safety vest and pulled it toward her causing the velcro on the side of my vest to be un-done."

10News asked the San Diego Sheriff's Department about the incident earlier this week, and again on Friday, but was told they could not comment since it is an ongoing court case.

Mouwakeh's case goes to trial on July 21.

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