Woman speaks on hair-pulling incident
Torazzi Hayslett's hair pulled by officer
Last Updated: 409 days ago
SAN DIEGO -
A woman shown on video getting her hair pulled by a San Diego police officer told 10News her actions that day were justified and the officer's were not.
When Torazzi Hayslett came home last Friday afternoon, she found her Nestor-area home on Ilex Street engulfed in flames. She tried to enter her home, thinking her husband was inside. Her only thought was to get them out.
"When I got there, it was unimaginable … the total house was on fire and I hadn't seen my husband yet," Hayslett said.
Before she knew it, she said someone was grabbing her.
"I was charged from behind and as I was charged from behind, I had no clue who it was or who was charging on me. I tried to grab the fire truck," she said.
Video shot on the scene that day by K. Johnson of the Imperial Beach Patch showed firefighters as the first people that tried to keep Hayslett from running into the burning home. Then, San Diego police officer Daniel McLaughlin ran over and started to push Hayslett back.
A second later, Hayslett's husband, Alex, grabbed her and tried to pull her away from McLaughlin. But in that moment of extreme emotion, Hayslett appeared to try and hit the officer. After that, he grabbed her hair and appeared to try and take her down.
"I had no clue who that person was. I had tunnel vision when I got there so I wasn't aware of my surroundings. I was just looking at my entire house and if somebody's grabbing and your emotions are at the max, I was just trying to defend myself," she said.
Alex Hayslett told 10News that he was angry that while he was trying to control his wife, McLaughlin wouldn't let go.
"You're a grown man; there's other ways to handle situations. As we become adults … I mean, you can handle it like an adult or you can handle it like a child," Alex Hayslett said.
Now, Torazzi Hayslett's attention has turned to the couple's three-year old son.
"I feel like I'm disappointing him when I can't give him what he needs right now … what he wants is his home," she said.
Even though the Haysletts have hired an attorney, they wouldn't say whether they're going to file a lawsuit.
If they choose to file suit, it won't be the first time McLaughlin has had to defend himself in court. Last year, he was found guilty of using unreasonable force against homeless advocate Dave Ross, who hands out water to the homeless.
McLaughlin is now on paid administrative leave while an investigation takes place. Beyond that, the San Diego Police Department isn't commenting on the issue because it's a personnel matter.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.