Police Brutality Accusations Leveled

Police Brutality Accusations Leveled

Timothy Shea of Bowie, Md., said his daughter Tara was trying to get a colleague to the Vienna Metro Station early Saturday morning when she was stopped on Nutley Street by town police. She was given field sobriety tests, with which he said she was "totally compliant, thoroughly compliant."

However, shortly after another unit arrived on the scene, he said, she was subject to a "sudden, violent takedown," following which officers jammed their knees into the top of her back. After the incident, he said, "they gloated over it — that she was a woman and they made her bleed in the gutter, was what they said."

He listed his daughter's injuries as a broken nose, damaged orbital bones around her eyes — which he said were swollen almost closed — a split lip and multiple scratches and bruises.

She was charged with driving while intoxicated, possession of a concealed weapon and assaulting a police officer, said Shea, adding that they plan to dispute all charges.

He said the concealed weapon charge was for a knife she uses in her job as a chef and the assault charge was for spitting blood on an officer. "Apparently, when she spat blood out of her nose and mouth, some of this must have soiled the officer's uniform," he said. "I believe that was the basis for the assault charge."

Shea said he has asked the town for an independent investigation but does not believe they will comply with the request.

The police department has said they are initiating an internal investigation, but Shea said he is concerned that because of the department's small size there is "not enough distance in the office for any independence."

Capt. Mike Miller at the Vienna Police Department, referring to the official police report, gave a different story. Shea was stopped for erratic driving and was discovered to be intoxicated, he said. "During the arrest a struggle ensued between her and the arresting officers," which included her "physically assaulting two officers," kicking, striking, grabbing and attempting to bite them, said Miller.

The struggle resulted in two felony charges of assaulting a police officer.

Following the arrest, he said, Shea was taken to the Fairfax County Hospital emergency room, treated and taken to jail.

Miller said the knife that led to the weapons charge was a folding, four-and-a-half-inch single blade similar to a buck knife, which was about eight inches long unfolded.