Woman denies assaulting Ariz. cop before he punched her
Flagstaff, Ariz. — A woman punched by an Arizona police officer in an incident captured on video has denied a claim by the Flagstaff officer that she kicked and kneed him in the groin before he threw the punch.
The Arizona Daily Sun reported that Marissa Morris said she did not assault Officer Jeff Bonar, who was placed on administrative after the incident Wednesday incident while police internal affairs and criminal investigations are conducted.
“After he hit me, I was blown away,” Morris told the newspaper. “I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know why it was happening to me, why he would do such a thing to me. I did nothing wrong to deserve that.”
The incident occurred as the 30-year-old Morris and her boyfriend were being evicted. She was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault and of resisting arrest.
Police have said Bonar knew of arrest warrants for Morris in previous DUI cases but that police determined after Wednesday’s incident that those warrants were no longer active.
“I did exactly what I was supposed to do to take care of my warrants previously,” Morris said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Morris is heard on the video telling Bonar that there were no active warrants for her arrest.
In his police report, Bonar said Morris started running, so he grabbed her to prevent her from escaping.
Danny Paredes, the brother-in-law of Morris’ boyfriend, took the video and shared it on Facebook.
Morris was released from custody Thursday after making an initial court appearance.
A police department spokesman, Sgt. Cory Runge, said Bonar was equipped with a body camera but did not have it activated when he made contact with Morris or when he punched her. He did activate his camera after Morris had been placed in handcuffs, Runge said.
“Officer Bonar’s failure to activate the camera prior to the incident will also be addressed during the internal affairs investigation into his actions,” Runge said in a statement.
A neighbor who saw the scuffle said she Morris should have let the officer arrest her to avoid the altercation.
“Dragging your feet and flinging your arms — that’s what I saw,” Loretta Lee told KPNX-TV.
She added that it took three officers “to get her to the car. Now if that’s not resisting arrest, I don’t know what is.”