Rock Hill Police dispute woman's claims of brutality during arrest

Rock Hill Police dispute woman's claims of brutality during arrest
Updated: Aug. 16, 2018 at 3:57 PM EDT
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Pizer (Rock Hill Police Department)
Pizer (Rock Hill Police Department)

ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) - A woman was arrested in Rock Hill after a police report states she threw a drink on an officer and punched him in the face while he was investigating another complaint.

However, the accused woman says the events of her arrest played out differently than what police say happened.

Patricia Anne Pizer, 53, is charged with assault on a police officer while resisting arrest and cited for hindering police.

The arrest happened Wednesday when officers responded to a domestic situation involving a man and a woman at the QuikTrip on Riverview Road. According to the report, one officer - who stated he had dealt with the man and woman before - put both in handcuffs for investigative detention, the report states. That's when officials say Pizer got involved.

The police report states as the officer was handcuffing the man, Pizer got in between them and pleaded with the officer, saying the man didn't do anything wrong.

The officer told Pizer the matter "did not concern her" and that officers "had been out with these two several times before." The officer also told Pizer, the report states, that if she didn't leave she would be arrested for hindering police.

The report states Pizer voiced her disdain and stated she would not be placed under arrest. The narrative goes on to say the officer retrieved another set of handcuffs to arrest Pizer for hindering police.

The report states Pizer told officers she would not be touched and began walking to the front doors of the business. The officer again told her she needed to leave. The report states that Pizer attempted to leave and then stopped short of the door, began to set up her cell phone in efforts "to record her interaction with police."

The officer then told her she was under arrest and grabbed her left arm to put handcuffs on her. According to the police report, she reportedly threw a drink in the officer's face, then punched him, knocking his sunglasses off and disabling his earpiece so he could no longer hear radio traffic.

The officer then performed an "iron wrist-lock take down," the report states, but Pizer grabbed the store's door handle and the officer was unsuccessful. The report says Pizer "screamed at the top of her lungs" when she grabbed the door handle. The officer then "struck Pizer's right forearm in order to break her grip on the door handle" and she was "foot swept to the ground."

Officers say Pizer tried to get back up, but the officer "pushed her back down to the ground" and her front teeth struck the pavement.

Another officer then arrived and Pizer was put in a patrol vehicle and taken to the Law Center for processing.

Pizer's husband bailed her out of jail late Thursday morning. She spoke to WBTV about her recollection of the events, which was vastly different than the police officer's report.

Pizer says she and her husband are from Miami and were just in town visiting for a few days. She says she was at the QuikTrip when male employees asked her to go into the bathroom to check on a woman who seemed upset.

She says a woman was in the stall next to her crying. She asked the woman if she was OK. She says the woman told her she had gotten into a fight with her friend.

Pizer says she went out to tell the QT employees that the woman was OK and there was no need to call the police. But, she says, the employees had already called police.

"So I went back in to tell her so she wouldn't be surprised," Pizer said. "She walked out and said 'I got to get out of here,' so I was walking out behind her and she was walking out the same door I was and she was getting into her car... and this police car sped up and blocked her in."

"I went over to try to diffuse the situation because it wasn't, you know, ridiculous," Pizer said. "I went up to the police officer as he was handcuffing her and said 'excuse me officer' and he didn't make eye contact with me, he didn't look my way. He body checked me out of his way."

"I said 'excuse me, officer' again and he did the same thing," Pizer said. "This happened three times total."

"He had finished cuffing her and suddenly he pulls out another set of cuffs," Pizer said. "I said 'woah, woah, woah!' and so I moved around to the front of her car and took out my phone and I started videoing because I've just seen too many examples of things going really wrong."

"He said 'you're going to get arrested,' and I said 'for what? I haven't done anything,'" Pizer said. "And then he saw that I was filming him and he came up to me and he smashed my camera out of my hand and it went flying."

"As he smacked my hand I pulled it back to protect my face and he, he said I was impeding arrest or something," Pizer continued. "He told me I had to leave, but off to his side he had grabbed my hand so I couldn't go any place - but he was saying 'you have to leave' but I couldn't go anywhere. So I was trying to grab onto something and I started screaming 'please somebody help me.'"

"I was hit in the back of my head or the back of my neck and I was slammed to the ground and that's when my teeth were broken," Pizer said. "And I was just stunned on the ground trying to figure out what had happened."

Pizer says she was lying on the ground when the officer cuffed her and then pulled her up by the wrists. She showed cuts on her arms and a wrap around her knee, saying it was from her interaction with the officer.

She says paramedics checked her blood sugar and blood pressure and asked if she had any medical problems while she was cuffed inside the patrol car.

She says the same officer who arrested her took her to the police department. She says she became upset and was having an asthma attack. She says they stopped so that she could get her inhaler.

"A policeman came from one of the other cars and I asked to please not be left alone with this man because I was so frightened," Pizer said. "The policeman said 'well, we are just going to go straight to the police office and I have to drive my car so I can't go with you.'"

She says she was handed over to two other officers once they arrived at the Rock Hill Police Department and processed into jail.

Pizer disputed the narrative in the police report, which stated she threw a drink on the officer and hit him with a closed fist.

"I had a glass of water and it went flying when he hit my hand to knock my camera out of my hand," Pizer said. "I pulled back my hand, if I touched him... I wasn't doing anything to be arrested for, as far as I knew of. I was trying to leave, I just wanted to be safe and that's why I started filming him because it felt wrong."

When asked if the officer told Pizer she was hindering police work, she said the officer ",maybe said it once."

"I didn't see how, I wasn't in his way," Pizer said. "He was the only officer there, it wasn't made clear."

Pizer says being a visitor in Rock Hill, she has never had any interaction with Rock Hill Police before.

After requests for comment on Pizer's arrest, Rock Hill Police released this statement to WBTV:

The Rock Hill Police Department completed a review of the arrest that occurred at QT, 1195 Riverview Road, on Wednesday August 15, 2018 around 4:50 pm. This review found that the officer involved made a lawful arrest and used force necessary to effect the arrest of Ms. Pizer. This review included viewing video footage from the officer's body camera and store surveillance cameras. Body cam footage will not be provided at this time. Video footage provided by QT can only be released with their corporate approval.

On August 15, 2018, officers responded to QT, 1195 Riverview Road, for a domestic incident that occurred at another location. The two parties involved, a Caucasian female and male, arrived by vehicle, and one went inside the store while the other stayed outside.

The first officer, Officer Hernandez, arrived on scene as both parties approached the vehicle. The officer decided to detain both parties for safety. While placing handcuffs on the first subject, an uninvolved party, Ms. Pizer, exited the store and physically interjected herself between the officer and subject. She grabbed the officer's arm in an attempt to prevent the officer from handcuffing the subject. The officer informed Ms. Pizer to step away to allow him to continue his duties. Ms. Pizer continued to inject herself by grabbing the officer and stepping between the officer and other parties. At one point, Ms. Pizer caused the officer to drop his handcuffs.

After receiving several warnings and continuing her behavior, the officer made the decision to arrest Ms. Pizer for hindering police. The officer stepped to his patrol vehicle to retrieve a third pair of handcuffs. The officer advised Ms. Pizer she was under arrest and Ms. Pizer stated she would not be arrested. Ms. Pizer walked away and the officer followed. The officer approached Ms. Pizer to place her in handcuffs when Ms. Pizer punched the officer in the head twice, and kicked the officer once. The officer then attempted to put Ms. Pizer on the ground, however she grabbed the handle of the door to the store. The officer pulled Ms. Pizer to break her grip on the door. The officer then put Ms. Pizer on the ground and continued to attempt placing her in handcuffs.

A backup officer arrived and Ms. Pizer was taken into custody at this time.

Ms. Pizer complained of abrasions to her leg and an injury to her mouth. EMS was called to the QT by officers to treat Ms. Pizer. Ms. Pizer was transported to the jail and booked on charges of Hindering Police and Assault on an Officer.

While Ps. Pizer was in custody, jail staff were attentive to her needs, including providing any needed medication. Ms. Pizer's only injuries included abrasions and possible chipped tooth, sustained during the resistance of arrest.

WBTV requested surveillance footage from QuikTrip Corporate Offices in Charlotte, NC, but was told video footage would only be provided to police.

The Pizers say they may release video footage of the encounter that Mrs. Pizer took on her cell phone, but they are waiting for advice from an attorney before doing so.

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