Crime

Videos show arrest of woman who accused Pismo police of excessive force

Newly released officer body camera footage of the October 2014 arrest of a Grover Beach woman who called 911 for epileptic seizures and was instead arrested for being drunk in public shows the woman arguing and cursing at officers and demanding an ambulance for about five minutes before being placed in a police cruiser.

Pismo Beach Police Chief Jake Miller said the footage shows that Andrea Hansen, 32, did not cooperate with the officers, who followed procedure in placing her under arrest before taking her to a local hospital.

Hansen accepted a plea deal from prosecutors March 5 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court, pleading no contest to misdemeanor public intoxication in return for the dismissal of misdemeanor charges of assault on a police officer and resisting arrest — both stemming from the incident.

Hansen previously claimed that officers used excessive force on her, resulting in various scrapes and bruises. She had pleaded not guilty to all charges in November.

As part of her plea deal, Hansen will be required to serve one year of unsupervised probation and pay $350, and she is banned from alcohol outlets in Pismo Beach.

The case went viral after Hansen told her side of the story on the fundraising website GoFundMe.com in an effort to raise about $5,000 for her defense.

In the body camera video footage, Hansen is verbally combative and slurs her speech, but the video does not make clear whether Hansen physically fought back against the officers.

“I don’t understand why you guys are here when I called 911 and said I’m epileptic and I drank too much,” Hansen tells officers in the first 15 seconds of video.

Hansen then begins yelling at the officers, who tell her she’s under arrest. As they try to handcuff her, they repeatedly tell her to stop resisting and, at one point, Hansen is brought to the ground.

“I need medical attention, you (expletive)!” Hansen shouts.

“We’re trying to help you out. We’re not trying to hurt you,” one officer says. “You’re going to go with the program here, and we’re going to get you to a hospital.”

As she is being taken to a nearby police car, Hansen is heard telling officers to get away from her, and an officer is heard saying, “Now you’re in a lot more trouble. Now you got battery on a peace officer” before she is placed in leg restraints.

In another body camera video, an officer tells Hansen prior to her arrest that the officers are responding to her call for medical assistance before calling in the ambulance.

“When we get a medical aid call, we come out first because we have to make sure the scene is safe for the medics to come. You should know that,” the officer says.

Miller long maintained that the footage would prove his officers acted appropriately in the incident and released the videos in response to a public records request now that the case is closed.

“I feel you will find the footage from the officers’ body-worn cameras demonstrates the high level of professionalism and dedication to service that the residents of Pismo Beach have come to expect from their nationally accredited police department,” Miller wrote in a letter in response to the request. “The videos demonstrate that the allegations made by Ms. Hansen that the officers used excessive force, physically assaulted her, denied her medical attention, or canceled ambulance personnel are false.”

The city did not provide footage taken while Hansen was inside Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, citing medical confidentiality laws.

Hansen previously told The Tribune that she did have a few drinks more than appropriate for her condition prior to arrest, but that she was not legally intoxicated.

Following the release of the videos Monday, Hansen maintained that her confusion, aggression and slurred speech were the result of suffering seizures just prior to her call for an ambulance.

“People should know that, alcohol or not, this is what epilepsy looks like after having three major seizures,” she said.

She added: “A police officer should never make medical calls without medical training. It’s not their job.”

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