UPDATE | by Asia Morris | A Los Angeles woman pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges stemming from an incident involving a Long Beach Police officer in a busy intersection Monday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.
Carmen Mata, 22, confirmed by the district attorney’s office to be the woman shown in a viral video recorded by a Long Beach resident Monday, has been charged with one felony count of resisting an executive officer and three misdemeanor counts of resisting, delaying or obstructing a peace officer.
On July 3, an officer responded to a call regarding a person obstructing the roadway near Pacific Avenue and West Anaheim Street in Long Beach, according to the report. Prosecutors said upon arrival, the officer reportedly found Mata waving her arms and yelling at motorists.
The officer exited his patrol car and attempted to detain Mata, but the defendant allegedly refused to follow his verbal commands, prosecutors said.
The officer took Mata to the ground after some time, when she allegedly continued to resist, while additional officers arrived at the intersection and took her into custody, prosecutors said.
The defendant is scheduled to return to court on July 14 for a prehearing conference in Department S01 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Long Beach Branch, according to the release.
Mata faces a maximum possible sentence of six years in county jail if convicted as charged.
The case is currently being investigated by the Long Beach Police Department.
PREVIOUSLY: Viral Video Showing Long Beach Cop’s Tactic to Restrain Aggressive Woman Garners Public Praise
7/6/17 at 2:57PM | A video showing a woman acting erratically at a Long Beach intersection Monday afternoon before she was restrained by a police officer she attacked has gone viral, with many praising the officer’s work—including the man who shot the footage.
“Often times officers are quick to grab a weapon instead of having a little compassion to a clearly abnormal woman,” Long Beach resident Leonard Grant Jr., who recorded the incident, told the Post. “He could have tased her and possibly shot and killed her without facing any scrutiny from his peers but he chose to act logical and use the baton. I’m really proud of him.”
The incident took place at the intersection of Anaheim Street and Pacific Avenue at about 3:30PM on Monday, July 3, when an officer responded to calls regarding a woman at the intersection acting erratically and jumping on vehicles, according to Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) spokesman Sgt. Brad Johnson.
Grant said he was leaving a friend’s house when he pulled up to the intersection and saw the woman yelling and screaming at random cars. A motorist in one car even attempted to calm her down by talking to her but the situation escalated, he said.
That’s when Grant started recording.
The video—which Grant posted on his Facebook page that day and as of Thursday had 9 million views and over 85,000 shares—shows the woman approaching the officer as he arrives in his vehicle, acting aggressive toward him in the middle of the intersection as he tries to talk to her and calm her down. At one point, the officer uses his baton to strike and detain the woman and is in the middle of handcuffing her when a man rushes to his side to help restrain her.
Additional police then arrive to assist in taking her into custody.
LBPD officials said the officer was compelled to use force to detain the suspect to ensure her safety and the safety of motorists.
“What I want people to realize about that video is that all cops are not bad and some know how to perform their job without killing a minority because of fear,” Grant said in a later Facebook post in response to the video going viral. “I applaud the cop because he could of chose to react with a gun instead of a baton. Slow Progress!”
Authorities said the woman was transported to a local hospital due to her level of impairment. Additionally, an investigation revealed she was intoxicated and under the influence of unknown narcotics. Officials also praised the man who came to the officer’s aid.
“The Long Beach Police Department would like to thank the anonymous good Samaritan who came to the aid of the responding officer and assisted in the detention of the suspect,” officials said in a statement.
The investigation remains ongoing, and as with all incidents involving force used by an LBPD officer, there is a multi-level review process, according to authorities.
Grant said that while some of the people who commented on the video criticized the officer and the Long Beach police, “most of the comments were humane and in agreement that the officer handled it well.”
“I’m just glad everyone made it back alive because sadly we have seen officers use deadly force for citizens doing a lot less than she did,” Grant told the Post. “Sadly it’s usually minorities. I want the public to know not all officers are racist and corrupt and some want to just help the community. He did a great job and I’m glad he is a part of the Long Beach Police Department.”