SUITLAND, Md. - A female Metro rider is raising concerns about how she was arrested after video shows her being grabbed and shoved onto the ground by an officer.
On December 1, the 21-year-old woman told FOX 5 she came to the Branch Avenue Metro station with her SmarTrip card to take the train to visit her grandmother. She said she paid her fare and was on the train when an officer grabbed her, threw her off the train and onto a bench. The woman claims the Metro Transit Police officer called her a foul name and told her she had not paid for her ride.
When confronted by the officer, she said she put her hands up and told him she had done nothing wrong.
She said she put her hands up because she wanted “to let them know I have a right. I have my hands up. I have a right. And everything that I’m doing, I feel as though it was the correct way. I had to let everyone know, Freddie Gray and everyone else, I didn’t want it to go that far. That’s why I had to put my hands up.”
Wanting to remain anonymous, the 21-year-old said she is telling her story because she wants this kind of treatment to stop.
“He initially grabbed me physically with force and pepper-sprayed me, maced me, and laid me down, called for backup with another male officer.”
The woman said she suffered bruises on her arms after the incident.
“I couldn’t really breathe,” she said. “They were basically suffocating me basically and I couldn’t breathe. In a close, secluded area, I started to panic because I couldn’t breathe and the pepper spray is going into my mouth. I couldn’t open my eyes. Oh my goodness, it was just crazy.”
The woman said she was charged with disorderly conduct and has a court date scheduled on January 20.
“I was just so scared,” she said. “First of all, he has all the weapons he could possibly have. I felt like if I was a threat to him or anything like that, he would initially lock me up right after.”
Metro gave us their side of the story and told us the officer observed the woman not paying her train fare. When he ordered her to stop, she refused and became disorderly and combative, and pepper spray was used after repeated warnings.
Metro also said the woman was taken to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.