Black Woman In Ohio Seeks Justice After She Was Repeatedly Punched By An Officer
January 22, 2023 at 4:06 pm
Latinka Hancock, a Black woman in Ohio, is seeking justice after being punched by an officer and sustaining injuries to her face. Butler Township police Sgt. Todd Stanley was caught on cellphone video as he punched the woman during a dispute and left her with a bloodied lip, NBC News reports.
The incident started on Monday when Stanley and officer Tim Zellers responded to a report about a disturbance at a McDonald’s. Hancock, according police, was arguing with the restaurant staff over a slice of cheese.
Chief John Porter, who spoke at a news conference on Wednesday, said the staff asked for Hancock to “be formally trespassed from the property.” The officers repeatedly asked Hancock to identify herself because police are required to ask for identification when they need to issue a trespass notice, Porter said.
As Hancock refused, the officers tried to place her under arrest, but Stanley struck the woman during the struggle, the officer’s body camera footage shows.
Hancock is also heard in the video as she explained how she got into a dispute with an employee. The Ohio woman said she argued with the employee because she paid to have extra cheese on her burger but the sandwich did not include it.
“If you arrest me I promise you’re going to have a problem,” Hancock told the officers during the confrontation.
Police also played Zellers body camera video at the news conference. The footage shows Hancock giving police her last name, but refusing to provide any more information.
Shortly after Stanley hit Hancock in the face during the struggle, the woman was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and failure to identify.
Michael Wright, an attorney for Hancock, said his client left McDonald’s when a manager told her to leave. The attorney adds that McDonald’s should be “ashamed” for calling the police.
According to Wright, Hancock waited outside the fast food restaurant so she could explain what happened to the police.
“This is an incredibly sad day when Ms. Latinka Hancock’s life has been upended over a piece of cheese,” Wright told reporters, adding that his client sustained a busted lip, loose teeth, a closed head injury and a back injury.
Porter said Stanley is placed on paid administrative while the department investigates the incident. According to the chief, the department has been receiving a large amount of “hate mail” since video of the incident surfaced online.
Hancock said she was terrified during the confrontation with police.
“That video shows a woman explaining herself,” she told reporters. “When he asked me to identify myself it wasn’t that I’m trying to be belligerent … it wasn’t that. It’s over a sandwich, a sandwich that I have to literary now sign a paper over trespassing.”
The Ohio woman said she feared that she may end up like George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police in 2020.
“If it would have been done right, I wouldn’t have had to come back. … But because I just tried to come back and get it at least figured out, I almost lost my life behind it,” Hancock said. “The reason why I said I’m going to be quiet now, I’m going to stand up, I’m not going to be George Floyd.”