A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento on Wednesday against deputies with the Solano County Sheriff’s Office alleges a Black woman was thrown to the ground without cause and knocked unconscious last August before being arrested and jailed although she was never charged with a crime.
On Aug. 6, 2020, Nakia Porter, 33, and her father 61-year-old Joe Powell were traveling home with three children from a day trip to Oakland, California, to the Sacramento suburb of Orangevale. Porter’s two daughters, ages 3 and 6, and her 4-year-old niece were in the back seat. When Porter pulled off the highway in Dixon, California, so she and her father could swap places, a deputy pulled up, lights flashing.
Deputies said they noticed the vehicle, which had made a U-turn in front of them and halted at a stop sign, had mismatched license plates. On the back, a California plate was affixed, but on the front there was a Maryland plate.
“However, the deputies had called in the rear license plate to their dispatch and knew that it matched the description of the car and that there was no report of the car being stolen,” the filing states, The Associated Press reported.
Porter was out of the vehicle by this time as she engaged with a male and female deputy identified as Dalton McCampbell and Lisa McDowell. Although there is no audio in beginning of the 10-minute video edited by The Associated Press, Porter is seen walking around to the other side of the car and gesturing as if explaining to the deputies that they are switching drivers.
Deputies then instructed Porter to return to the driver’s seat. McCampbell is seen with his gun drawn as the audio in the video begins.
“You know what, detain her,” McCampbell told McDowell as Porter was walking back to the driver’s side of the Toyota SUV she’d been driving.
“We’re about to switch drivers,” Powell is heard saying as Porter is placed in handcuffs.
“I am not resisting arrest,” Porter said.
Deputies pulled Porter away from the car and told her she was going to the patrol car.
The shaky footage is difficult to interpret, however, seconds later Porter is clearly seen pressed against the ground, and appears to be unconscious.
“I believe she’s unconscious,” McCampbell is heard saying. “I think she’s out.” Deputies dragged Porter into the back of the patrol car.
Powell was also briefly detained during the encounter.
When paramedics arrived, deputies apparently misled them about what happened. McDowell told an emergency responder Porter was unresponsive for “about five seconds” although footage seems to show she was unconscious for several minutes. McCampbell then said Porter had been unconscious for “no more than 20 seconds.”
McCampbell also said that when he rolled Porter over she moved her legs as if she were trying to get into the patrol car although footage shows she was picked up and dragged into the vehicle.
McCampbell also claimed Porter tried to “fight” McDowell, although the video isn’t seen of the footage.
Porter was jailed overnight on suspicion of resisting arrest, but never charged.
Porter requested to be taken to a hospital but “Deputies McCampbell and McDowell denied the request, continuing to lie to the paramedics by minimizing the assault and the injuries they had inflicted on Ms. Porter,” according to the court filing.
The suit accuses the deputies of lying on the arrest report and also names a superior officer who signed off on the report.
Porter and Powell’s attorney Yasin Almadani says deputies violated state and federal civil rights statutes by engaging in “unlawful seizure, assault and excessive force.”
Almadani added, “So what occurred here, we believe, was a racially motivated beating and terrorizing of a Black family.”