APD officer suspended following arrest of woman - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

APD officer suspended following arrest of woman

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A woman says an Austin police officer slammed her to the ground and seriously hurt her during an arrest. Charges against her were dropped and the officer has been suspended for eight days.

He says he didn't do anything wrong.

"I hear Vanessa crying. She ain't doing nothing to them. She ain't doing nothing to nobody."

That is the voice of Vanessa Price's husband. He used his cell phone to record video of her arrest last May. He rushed to his friend's house after he says while talking on the phone, he heard Vanessa being roughed up by a police officer.

"Why do you have my wife in custody," he shouted. "Why did you tackle my wife sir?"

Shortly before the arrest, several couples met at a South Austin home for a get-together.

Vanessa says one guest got too intoxicated to drive home.

"We didn't want her driving home so we called a cab for her. She, I guess got into a fight with the cab driver. Police were called out," Vanessa Price said.

Vanessa says she went outside to see what was going on. According to APD, Officer Jermaine Hopkins told her she was detained and to sit on the curb. In the disciplinary memo, it is noted that Vanessa never gets closer than 20 to 30 feet from Hopkins. Vanessa then called her husband and was told to hang up.

When she failed to comply, she says this happened...

"He slammed me to the ground," she said. "I had bruises on my face. I had scratches from the stickers in the grass. I had to do physical therapy for eight weeks for my shoulder and my arm."

Vanessa was charged with interference with public duties and resisting arrest.

"I used to have a huge admiration for [police]. I used to feel really safe, now I don't at all. I don't trust them to make the right decision," Vanessa said.

On Thursday Officer Hopkins was given an eight day suspension.

The department disciplinary memo states "officer Hopkins' chain of command had concerns regarding Officer Hopkins' handling of the call for service and the arrest of Mrs. Price."

His supervisors filed an internal affairs complaint and contacted the county attorney's office to request charges against Price be dropped.

The memo also states, "Hopkins stated that he would not have handled the situation any differently and that he believes that the charges filed against Mrs. Price were valid."

Hopkins plans to appeal.

Sgt. Wayne Vincent, president of the Austin Police Association backs him up.

"Officers are very uncomfortable if they have someone under detention, letting someone make a phone call," Vincent said. "We've had instances where that phone call resulted in other people showing up at the scene. So, when someone is detained by the police they may ask them not to make that phone call it's for the safety of the officer."

Because of his appeal, the department will not comment on the issue or release the dash camera video. Vanessa says eight days isn't good enough.

"I'm surprised he's working there at all. I don't think he should be able to make these kinds of calls," Vanessa said.

The homeowner was also arrested that night. He was the person who approached Officer Hopkins and gave him the intoxicated woman's keys. He said trying to do the right thing. He says Hopkins arrested him immediately. He was charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor and public intoxication. He has an attorney and is fighting those charges.

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