The Goodyear police officer seen punching a woman, then yanking her from her car and throwing her to the ground said he feared the woman might assault him, according to Maricopa County court records.
Goodyear police identified the female driver in the video shot by a bystander Thursday as 38-year-old Renee Armenta of Avondale.
Court documents say she was pulled over after she cut across three traffic lanes near Van Buren Street and Dysart Road in Goodyear just before noon on Thursday.
During the stop, the officer found Armenta was driving on a suspended license, according to the court records.
Video shows Goodyear officer striking woman
The court documents include a probable-cause statement submitted by police after Armenta’s arrest. The officer states he told Armenta she was under arrest and to step out of the vehicle but she did not comply, he said.
“Fearing an imminent physical assault, I grabbed the defendant’s left arm and attempted to control her,” when she “made a sudden movement with her left hand and placed it in the small of her back as she backed away from me,” the officer said in the court records.
The video shows the officer striking Armenta in the face with his right hand and then pulling her from the driver’s seat, pushing her to the ground and dragging her several feet away from the vehicle.
“I could not control the defendant as she resisted arrest,” the officer said in the court documents.
Armenta “was struck in the face and taken back away from the vehicle where she was handcuffed,” the officer added.
The officer then can be seen in the video drawing his weapon and pointed it at a man, identified in the records as 27-year-old Phoenix resident John Charlie Moreno Aguilar, who was in the passenger seat but stepped out of the vehicle as the officer pulled Armenta away.
After the arrest, the officer searched the vehicle and found marijuana and a methamphetamine smoking pipe, court records state.
Armenta was booked into jail on suspicion of resisting arrest, driving with a suspended license and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, court records say.
The Goodyear Police Department has asked the Surprise Police Department to investigate the officer’s handling of the case.