Officer Under Fire For Tackling, Arresting Women Selling Flowers Without Permit

A middle-aged woman stood in front of a high school during a graduation ceremony selling flowers. People on the streets were shocked when they witnessed an officer grabbing the woman and wrestling her to the ground.

The officer says she wouldn't cooperate, but onlookers, who filmed the incident, say the reaction to the woman was extreme.

Juanita Mendez-Medrano, a 52-year-old in Perris, California, was on the sidewalk trying to sell flowers to graduation attendees. Someone captured a shocking confrontation between Ms. Mendez-Medrano and police.

The woman is holding a bouquet of flowers and trying to walk away from the officer, but he won’t let her go. That’s when he gets physical.

In the disturbing video, the woman is shown screaming as the officer grabs her in a vice grip and throws her down. She resists, and he pushes even harder.

He then plants a knee on the woman’s hip and presses her down to the ground in an extremely painful-looking position as he cuffs her. The woman looks terrified, hysterical and appears to have wet her pants in the encounter.

The brutal arrest left many people in dismay, with many complaining that the officer’s use of force was unwarranted. "I'm saddened by the brutality for the poor woman selling flowers," said one person on the Perris Police Department's Facebook page. "She should be compensated for her extremely traumatic treatment, and your officer should be dismissed and charged himself for his actions."

According to witness Jason Hernandez, the crowd was told that Mendez-Medrano and other people selling flowers were a safety hazard. This puzzled witnesses.

“It would be a safety hazard if they were in the middle of the streets, but they were in the corner. The high school or the parking lot right now, they're not going toward cars directly," Hernandez said.

Police are defending the actions of the officer, saying that Mendez-Medrano did not have a permit, and refused to cooperate with the officers. It was only after she resisted arrest and tried to walk away that things got physical.

"She refused to provide her name, and attempted to walk away," the police news release said. "Our officer repeatedly told Ms. Mendez-Medrano why she was being detained, and that she could not go without being issued a citation."

Police say the video only shows the result of the encounter. "Our officer told Ms. Mendez-Medrano she was not free to leave and was under arrest, and held her arm to prevent her from fleeing... When Ms. Mendez-Medrano resisted our officer's efforts to gain her cooperation, a very brief physical struggle ensued before she was taken into custody."

“The video did not capture the other vendors cooperating with the citation process, nor did it capture our officer’s repeated efforts to convince Ms. Mendez-Medrano to do the same,” said the Riverside Sheriff’s Office after the video went viral.

Mendez-Medrano later told KTLA, "Why go after people trying to make a decent living? Why not go after gang-bangers?"

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: Screenshots, Riverside County Sheriff's Department

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