Rough Treatment and Arrest of Black Woman Walking Her Dog at Ocean Beach Raises Questions

by on May 5, 2020 · 35 comments

in Ocean Beach

The arrest and rough treatment Friday, May 1, of an African-American woman for walking her dog at Ocean Beach without a leash raises troubling questions.

A video taken of the incident shows a Black woman in a white bathing suit being taken into custody by several San Diego police officers, accompanied by a couple of lifeguard on the shores of Ocean Beach. She apparently had been noticed by lifeguards walking her dog without a leash.

During the incident, she was taken to the ground at least twice by officers, with her arms twisted behind her and handcuffed. She was taken down on the sand and then on the asphalt. At one point the woman being arrested asked bystanders to continue taking a video of the incident.

Councilwoman Monica Montgomery and the head of the local NAACP have raised questions about “equity in enforcement”. Montgomery issued a statement Monday, May 4, calling for “equity in enforcement” after she had viewed the video of the incident on social media. She called on police leaders and the Mayor’s Office to look into the matter. Montgomery was disturbed by the rough take-down of a Black person after protests had been held at the beach – by mainly white protesters – who at the time clearly violated public health rules. No arrests were made at the protest.

Montgomery said, “My office is demanding answers as to why this young woman did not receive equitable enforcement and treatment.”

Police reported to the media that the 36-year-old woman was walking in an area where unleashed dogs are prohibited from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m, and said the woman refused to talk with lifeguards and police and tried to walk past them. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported:

She was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public and resisting arrest after she slipped off her handcuffs twice, officials said. She was booked into jail after she was turned away from detox for being uncooperative.

Photos are from video taken during the arrest. You can view the full 9 minute video at the SDU-T link.

Francine Maxwell, president of the local NAACP chapter, told the U-T that several other people who watched the video noted that others who were unmasked and walking dogs in the area were not cited by police. Maxwell said in a statement:

“Over this past week, the NAACP San Diego Branch has become greatly concerned about what appears to be racial discrimination by law enforcement in enforcing the social distancing mandate. In San Diego, we reviewed a video of an African-American female aggressively detained by police officers while walking her dog on the beach — while other beachgoers with their dogs were allowed to enjoy their day. “

Maxwell also said several people who have seen the video have questioned the “roughness of the arrest” and wondered why a female officer wasn’t called to assist. “Bystanders were offended by the way she was being flipped around,” she added.

Police and city officials said they will review the conduct of officers involved in the arrest to determine if any policies were violated.


{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

jmw May 5, 2020 at 8:25 am

My guess is that after a full official review, it will be determined that no police policies were violated.


Peter from South O May 5, 2020 at 11:41 am

She tried to evade officers (slipped her handcuffs off twice) and was turned down by the detox staff because she was ‘uncooperative’. Has anyone here ever been to detox? It is a get out of jail free card!
Let’s wait for the investigation before we jump to conclusions.


Frank Gormlie May 5, 2020 at 1:56 pm

Watch the video, mi amigo. It tells a troubling story no matter What the freaking details are.


fern May 5, 2020 at 2:53 pm

where is the video?


Peter from South O May 6, 2020 at 3:40 am

This is the damning detail: “the woman refused to talk with lifeguards and police and tried to walk past them” . . . any sober person would know that is a no-no. As are unleashed dogs. Sometimes dumbshits get what they merit.


Frank Gormlie May 6, 2020 at 10:14 am

When an African-American City Councilwoman and one of the most prominent civil rights organizations in the country raise questions, I’ll sit up and take notice.


Peter from South O May 6, 2020 at 11:52 am

As do I. I am merely pointing out that the suspect intentionally escalated the situation.


bobo May 7, 2020 at 10:25 am

“I am merely pointing out that the suspect intentionally escalated the situation.”

BS: walking away from police is NOT “escalating” the situation. If fact, it’s the opposite.
Do you know what the word escalate means?


Peter from South O May 7, 2020 at 4:58 pm

When the police or lifeguards (and both were involved) ask to speak to you on the beach and you ignore them, that is escalation from what could be a quick resolution (and she was breaking the law just as plainly as if she had an open beer in her hand) to a stressful encounter.


Frank Gormlie May 5, 2020 at 2:27 pm

When I was a practicing lawyer, I handled hundreds of DUI cases – and none of my clients, mostly white, were treated this way. There is no way she was going to somehow escape. I’ve seen too often how African-Americans are treated on OB beaches and have felt for years Black beachgoers were somehow singled out.


Scott May 7, 2020 at 8:26 pm

She brought her own self down both times in the vid. This is a behavior issue of hers, not racial bias of the cops. The cops didn’t bring her down to the ground. The main question I have is whether it was worth arresting her in the first place.


Frank Gormlie May 8, 2020 at 10:35 am

What we are doing is raising the issue of “equity in enforcement.” If she had been white, I don’t think the situation would have resulted in the way it did. What does that say?


sealintheSelkirks May 5, 2020 at 2:50 pm

About yesterday’s article:

‘Stay Classy San Diego’ and Other Sordid Tales of the Pandemic’
Roy Batty replied this morning:

Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave.
Both Geoff and I replied to this guy…

Well Roy, isn’t this exactly what you were talking about? Why don’t you go ask this woman about your question…



Debbie May 5, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Where is the video? Does it show her before, during and after arrest?


Frank Gormlie May 5, 2020 at 4:09 pm

The video is at the SDU-T site which I provided a link for in the post.


retired botanist May 6, 2020 at 5:33 pm

This is disturbing. I’m not even sure what to say next, other than I did not find Frank’s link in the article?
Points made are valid- she seemingly was not cooperative, was walking her dog off-leash (ack, a pet-peeve for me, no pun intended), and did not respond to questioning. But being turned down by detox staff? I’m not quite getting that one; obviously detox centers handle people who are temporarily unstable, incapacitated, etc. Having said that, many of these facilities require a certain amount of voluntary admission, unless there’s a 72 hr psych hold. Just too much missing in that story line so far…
Having said THAT, there is no question in my mind that the SDPD are, historically, WAY too heavy-handed in their treatment of people who are mentally (whether temporarily or chronically) unstable, regardless of their color. I’ve read it over and over again, and I still lament the shooting of the mentally ill person who broke into the kitchen in a home in OB a few years ago, and was shot dead, b/c he was holding a knife! A knife, really? Yards away from an officer wearing a flak jacket?! The residents upstairs,were not at imminent risk, the SDPD had armor, cars, guns, and everything except common sense in response to a call made by a neighbor that there was a suicidal person around the premises. SDPD never did publish that footage- I waited for it.
What this shows in the reading, w/out having seen the footage, is that local law enforcement are sorely lacking in the training required to manage people with problems. Guns and man-handling (note the gender phrase) are not training in public safety, including the alleged perpetrator.


Carl Zanolli May 6, 2020 at 6:26 pm

I’ve not had a lot of occasion to interact with police but as a general rule I do exactly what they tell me to do. I do not argue or talk back. If I did not like what they did I would make a formal complaint and have done so. This is particularly true in any instance in which I would be caught red handed violating a law as this young woman was doing which initiated this whole chain of events


sealintheSelkirks May 6, 2020 at 7:46 pm

Have had a few thoughts about this reality today, and then read the story link pasted below, and came to this conclusion. To those that think ‘this was okay’:

What if, say, a fat 50ish wealthy white Zonie tourist woman from Scottsdale was walking her little poodle Fifi down the beach without a leash. Does anybody really think that a bunch of cops are going to handcuff her and faceplant her head into the pavement OVER A GODDAM DOG TICKET? Are you f**king stupid?

There’s a Bill of Rights, yes? It’s in our Constitution, correct? So what? Now read this story, and tell me that IF YOU WERE RAISED ON THESE KINDS OF REALITY STORIES your entire life, and your entire family, and everybody in your neighborhood, and everybody with the same skin color, for hundreds and hundreds of years of brutal mind-numbing suppression, you’d go make a ‘formal complaint’ with…some entity that is PART OF THE PROBLEM and whitewashes just about every so-called complaint ever made against the ruling skin color. As you’ll notice in the story, this ain’t your reality, is it, Carl?



bobo May 7, 2020 at 10:47 am

You know, there is a GIGANTIC difference between what you describe as violating the law and what she did. Her actions (walking an unleashed dog on the beach) warrants nothing more that a ticket at best. Ignoring the cops is also a minor infraction and in no way, shape or form, give the cops the Right to assault her the way they did. She did nothing to deserve that treatment and I guarantee that if this was a white woman, you’d be outraged.


Scott May 7, 2020 at 8:29 pm

The woman brought her self down both times, the cops didn’t bring her down to the ground. She was acting unreasonably.


Geoff Page May 7, 2020 at 1:05 pm

What Seal said, Carl.

Your comment reminded me an encounter in college between a black guy from Detroit and a Jewish guy from Detroit I was mediating as a residential assistant managing a flour of 54 guys. The black guy had to work all through high school, he did not come from a well-to-do family. The Jewish guy said he had to work too but when asked what he did, he was a caddy at a country club. He honestly believed that equated what the black guy’s working life was and he really did believe that. Your comment reminded me of the gulf between these two guys. Plenty of people of color have done exactly what you said you do and wound up dead.


nostalgic May 7, 2020 at 11:14 am

I just read a book by Harlan Coben, “Run Away.” The book resolves what really happened on a cell-phone video taken by tourists of an attack that occurred in Central Park. As books go, the resolution was entirely different from any of the possibilities you considered until the every end. Not to say that real life is like a book.


Frank Fitz May 7, 2020 at 1:00 pm

I am impressed at the number of law enforcement experts and legal scholars who read and comment on stories in The Rag!

I have learned so much.


Geoff Page May 7, 2020 at 1:08 pm

And I’ve learned that some people have nothing to add to the discussion other than snark.


Frank Fitz May 8, 2020 at 10:13 am

But Geoff, I was adding to the discussion. I was pointing out the obvious.

My original post still stands and has been validated repeatedly by the folks who say they’re no lawyer but they, buy god, know the law because they took civics in high school.

And I’ll add this gem: There are sure a lot of commenters who know all about law enforcement (including lawyers) but have never been cops. They must have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Just sayin’.


bobo May 8, 2020 at 10:22 am

That’s a stupid qualification:
That being a licensed attorney or cop is the only way one can or should have a valid opinion about this. That normal citizens are too ignorant to understand the complexities of the law but yet are subject to it. That this qualifier only comes into play when the victim is a person of color and the perpetrator is a law enforcement officer.
It’s very convenient for you to easily use that false and stupid qualifier to try to invalidate any opinion that might be in contrast to yours…and it’s not working.


Geoff Page May 8, 2020 at 10:47 am

Looks like you don’t know what “snark” means so I’ll help you out.

Merriam-Webster – an attitude or expression of mocking irreverence and sarcasm
Oxford Dictionary – Make snide and sharply critical comments – snarky
cynical, snide, sarcastic, scornful, spiteful, testy, abrasive, caustic, cutting,

Just sayin’.


retired botanist May 10, 2020 at 6:06 pm

yeah, true that, Bobo. C’mon Fitz, we’re educated, and don’t need legal or law enforcement credentials to validate our views.


sealintheSelkirks May 8, 2020 at 10:52 am

So FF,

If I’m understanding your implication, to extrapolate…one must have joined the Nazi Party to be eligible to point out the obvious flaws of Fascism? Or maybe, like the cops, you had to have been a very patriotic and willing guard of a Death Camp or Concentration Camp or Labor Camp to ‘know the law’ rather than listening in a high school civics class to understand, ‘buy god’ (you can buy a god? How cool is that? I want one!) and know the law?

So the ONLY person who is allowed to call out Trump for his absolute idiocy and narcissism are the people who…work for him?

That’s…staggeringly ignorant thinking.

Ask the wives of cops who suffer a far higher spousal abuse rate (that means beating and murdering their own wives & kids) than the general population. Ask the black kid playing with a toy gun in a park about how ‘law enforcement’ works…oh wait 12 yr old Tamir Rice can’t speak because he was SHOT DOWN IN 3 SECONDS after the cop car door opened. Ask…a whole bunch of dead black & brown people how they feel about ‘law enforcement’ as it is applied to their skin color.

Dude, you really ought to let those ‘gems’ of yours go because they are defining you in ways that, to be blunt, are not painting a flattering portrait of your thinking skills whatsoever.

And no, I’ve never felt the slightest wish to be an authoritarian though I’ve been on the receiving end of their brutality. I’ve personally witnessed their violence and racism and hate and the obvious love of hurting people that only a true sadist could enjoy. Instead, I became a teacher which, while being severely underpaid and having no conferred governmental immunity for reckless and vicious acts of murder and mayhem, was a far better use of my limited time on this planet.



Jacob Clark May 8, 2020 at 4:06 am

Hello everyone. I also think that it’s not about the racial prejudices of the police. As a US citizen, she behaved wrongly. This situation could have been avoided by simply explaining calmly to the police what was happening to her. I am sure that the officers would not use physical force against her, this is obvious. Of course, this situation is sad and I do not take sides. The only thing I would like to note is the law, whether you want it or not, you must comply. My advice to you is to stay at home. For example, I ordered excellent CBD products and calmly and without stress spend this weekend at home with my family. By the way, who cares, here’s a great store – Oh yes, you ask why there are so many lawyers here, the answer is simple – everyone is sitting at home, what else should they do? I wish you good health and good luck!


bobo May 8, 2020 at 9:50 am

I think you’re missing the point…YES she should have complied. YES this all could have been avoided. YES she should have stayed home if she didn’t want to or know that you can’t walk a dog off-leash anywhere but dog beach.
You and others TOTALLY ignore the more-serious violations of law here:
The police had no right to assault her for an infraction that at most, is a ticket. Her (or anyone else) ignoring police commands do not give them a right to assault you in the way that they did. It’s the strong-arm approach that is the problem here-not what she did leading up to it. ESPECIALLY when the police were most “selective” calling her out when we know there are many many more serious infractions going on 24/7 at that area. Let me make it clear: The police have no right to detain or subdue person unless that person poses a threat, is violent, or has broken a law serious enough to be arrested.

No. I’m not a lawyer. I’m a US Citizen well-versed in Civics. I don’t need to be a lawyer to know when someone’s civil rights have been violated. Stop using the false narrative that only lawyers and cops can comment on and decide who deserves to be assaulted by police. We ALL should be disturbed by this. I also find it interesting that this professional qualifier (being a lawyer) only comes up when its white people defending the police against an assault on a person of color.

PS: don’t advertise. It invalidates everything you said when you pitch products in your comments.


john hurl May 8, 2020 at 2:56 pm

Speaking as trained security officer for the past 3 years at Hertz car lot. i am trained to give tresspassers a verbal warning for tresspass on the car lot, if they do not obey, out comes my tazer,
obey law enforcement people.


Geoff Page May 8, 2020 at 3:40 pm

You are not a law officer Mr. Hurl. I would be amazed if any company, much less one the size of Hertz, would authorize a security person to use a taser, especially one who can’t spell taser.


sealintheSelkirks May 8, 2020 at 7:53 pm

Speaking as a three decade plus self defense instructor, and a concert security troubleshooter at very large Northern California 3-day outdoor concerts (Hog Farm Pic-Nic, EarthDance, Trinity Tribal Stomp, MountainAire, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, and numerous others every summer), I never ever carried an electrocution weapon nor did I ever have to knock anyone unconsciousness. I did not carry mace or pepper spray or a billy club. I did, however have to restrain a few, and a very few were put to the ground and held until the adrenaline faded enough for their brain to start working again. Only in defense of other people did that happen.

I was NOT a cop, nor are you. Hundreds of people have died being electrocuted by those things so I’d think about what you just said a little more thoroughly if I were you, and perhaps you might re-evaluate. You zap somebody because they ‘did not obey’? You kill someone, you’ll be doing 7 or so years for manslaughter if the security cameras that are all over those car lots show you were NOT in actual physical danger by being attacked. Then you’ll get to enjoy a wonderful all expenses paid vacation for 7 years like my stepson recently did (DUI fatality).



sealintheSelkirks May 9, 2020 at 12:25 pm

I wish this cartoon could be posted here for people to see and think on what it says. Instead, here’s a link for those that think freedumb is for everyone. Probably the best cartoon I’ve seen in…a long time.



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