San Diego policeman investigated over hair-pulling - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

RAW VIDEO FOOTAGE - Credit: Khari Johnson

San Diego policeman investigated over hair-pulling

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Police Department is investigating an officer who apparently pulled a distraught woman by the hair outside her burning home.

U-T San Diego says a video taken at the scene Friday appears to show an officer grabbing the woman's hair and dragging her several feet after she took some swings at him.

The woman appears to have been pulled away from firefighters who were keeping her from the burning house.

The fire caused an estimated $400,000 damage. The cause is under investigation.

The woman, Torazzi Hayslett, says she believes the officer overreacted and she's hiring an attorney.

The paper says a jury found that the same officer used unreasonable force in a 2009 incident that injured a homeless advocate, who was awarded nearly $4,000 in damages.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


THIS IS AN UPDATED STORY. For the original story, read below. 

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A distraught woman whose house was on fire, and who was being pulled away from the fire by her husband, had her hair pulled by a San Diego police sergeant in a videotaped incident that prompted an internal police investigation Sunday.

San Diego police Lt. Andra Brown  told U-T San Diego "due to allegations arising from this incident, we are conducting an internal investigation into the matter," and because it was a personnel matter police could not make further comment.

In the video, shot by a photojournalist for the Imperial Beach Patch, the sergeant is seen trying to pull the woman's head to the street moments after she flailed and her open hand had passed within inches of the officer's face. The incident was late Friday afternoon outside the smoldering house in the 2000 block of Ilex Avenue.

The video appeared to show the officer, identified by Imperial Beach Patch as San Diego police Sgt. Daniel McLaughlin, grabbing Torazzi Hayslett and pulling her back as she the took off toward a group of firefighters outside the burning home.

A man identified by the publication as Hayslett's husband Alex grabbed ahold of his wife, who then allegedly swung her open hand repeatedly at the sergeant. It was unclear if she made contact.

Hayslett, a teacher, told the newspaper she believed the sergeant overreacted and she was in the process of hiring an attorney.

McLaughlin was also involved in a 2009 incident that injured an advocate for the homeless. A jury in that case found he used unreasonable force and was negligent, U-T San Diego reported.


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