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Sheriff’s Office releases traffic stop footage that led to excessive force lawsuit

Nearly a week after a woman filed an excessive force lawsuit against two Solano County sheriff’s deputies in federal court, the Sheriff’s Office on Monday released body-camera and in-car video of the August 2020 encounter.

Attorney Yasin Almadani filed the lawsuit on behalf of Nakia Porter and her father Joe Powell, in the Eastern District of California last Wednesday. The lawsuit accuses deputies Dalton McCampbell and Lisa McDowell of engaging in “unlawful seizure, assault and excessive force” during the traffic stop in rural Dixon on Aug. 6, 2020.

While announcing the lawsuit, Almadani provided a nine-minute video that included body-camera footage from McCampbell and video from the deputies’ police vehicle.

On Monday, the Sheriff’s Office said it was “releasing the full-length videos as a vital means of maintaining transparency with the community we serve.”

However, McDowell’s body-camera footage wasn’t released Monday with the other videos.

The lawsuit alleges that Porter parked in the rural area to change seats with her father as they made the 100-mile drive back to Orangevale in Sacramento County following a trip to Oakland. Porter’s 3-year-old and 6-year-old daughters, along with her 4-year-old niece, were also in the car and witnessed the incident.

The deputies, already parked on the road, noticed that Porter’s car had mismatched license plates — a Maryland plate on the front with a rear California plate. Porter said she forgot to remove the front plate after moving to California from Maryland.

They approached, ordering Porter back into her car. The body-camera video shows McCampbell, with his service weapon drawn, order Porter to return to the driver’s side of the vehicle.

As she is walking back, the video show McCampbell yell:

“You know what, detain her!”

That’s when the deputies swarm Porter, attempting to arrest her.

While the deputies attempt to detain Porter, she speaks to the camera stating that she isn’t resisting.

During a news conference last week announcing the filing of the lawsuit, Porter said:

“I was doing my best to do everything right, giving no reason to be treated like this.” 

The lawsuit alleges that the deputies pulled Porter back to their vehicle, kneeled on her back, punched her in the head and pulled her hair. Porter, who stands about 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 125 pounds, can be seen passing out in the video.

In the video, McCampbell can be heard saying:

“I think she’s out.” 

The lawsuit says that Porter, while unconscious, was dragged to the patrol vehicle, where she regained consciousness five minutes later. The deputies reported that Porter was unconscious for just seconds, however, according to the lawsuit.

The Sheriff’s Office alleged Monday that Porter “resisted the deputies, slipped her right hand out of her handcuffs, and struck a deputy in the face.”

They added:

“The driver was rehandcuffed following a brief struggle. … After being evaluated by paramedics the driver requested transport to the hospital where she was examined by medical staff and cleared for transport to the jail.”

Video from that part of the incident isn’t clear. As Porter is led back to the patrol vehicle, there is a struggle until Porter is taken to the ground. The video doesn’t clearly show Porter slipping her handcuffs or striking one of the deputies.

According to the lawsuit, Porter was taken to jail and stayed there for about six hours until she was able to post $25,000 bail.

NAACP Sacramento president Betty Williams didn’t hold back during the last week’s news conference.

Williams said:

“In Solano County we have a new Mississippi where Solano sheriffs feel like they can do whatever they want to Black individuals.

She continued:

“They were so comfortable that they felt it was OK to pull her from the camera and beat her to unconsciousness.”

Sgt. Roy Stockton, also named in the suit, is accused of approving falsified reports written by the deputies “to cover up their attack on Plaintiffs and to have Ms. Porter falsely charged, all of which appears to be racially motivated and unconstitutional regardless of racial bias,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that Stockton is associated with the Three Percenters, a right-wing anti-government militia group. Previous news stories have linked Stockton to posting Three Percenter symbols online.

Stockton, who also serves on the Vacaville City Council, couldn’t be reached for comment.

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