Uploaded on Jan 14, 2012
New charges have been filed against a woman, who says Austin Police used excessive force on her during a routine traffic stop. Her attorney says this may be a case of retaliation.
Norma Pizana, 28, came forward last week with claims of police brutality. She said two APD Officers roughed her up, while her friend, Ashley Hill was taking a sobriety test. The Officers say Pizana interfered with the test and would not get off her cell phone.
Two people actually started rolling their cameras when they say they saw Pizana and Hill getting mistreated by the officers. One of those bystanders, Antonio Buehler, was also arrested.
He says the reason why police arrested him was because he was snapping these pictures of Officer Pat Oborski, while he was roughing-up Pizana. Police say he was interfering.
Pizana was arrested and charged with public intoxication.
Now nearly a week a half later, there are new charges. Pizana is accused resisting arrest and disobeying the officer by being on her cell phone, when told by the Officer to get off.
"I think all of us should be concerned if we are going to get charged for not ending a call when we're told to," Pizana's Attorney, Mindy Montford said. "She wasn't under arrest. The driver was detained. No one had even talked her yet."
She says the officers went too far and provoked Pizana. She also says the new charges are highly suspect, after the media coverage last week.
"Now suddenly this five line affidavit has turned into a full page affidavit with two new charges," said Montford. "I had to search forever, to find this obscure city ordinance that exists that they charged her under, for not following the orders of a police officer. This is not state law. This is not penal code."
"Why the charges were filed a few days later, I don't have a specific reason," said Cpl. Anthony Hipolito of the Austin Police Department. "I can assure you that the Austin Police Department would never file charges or trump charges just to retaliate or get revenge on anybody just because they spoke out against the police department."
Hipolito says the officers' dash cam video has been reviewed, and he says there are inconsistencies with the suspect's stories.
"When this happens and when this is out there like that. It causes the public to have complete mistrust in the police and that really hurts the department as a whole. Because when people see these images and see facts like this, it makes them question every stop," said Montford.
On Friday night, there were some citizens, who addressed the Public Safety Commission about this case.
"In the last two months I've had three friends arrested for filming police," said a concerned citizen.
Another concerned citizen also said, "I'm really curious about free speech when you're seeing something that you believe is wrong and being a violation and you are not interfering between the two parties. It seems to me that the first amendment holds and you can say stop that,"
Pizana will turn herself in for these two new charges Saturday morning and her attorney is planning on filing a complaint with the Police Monitor's Office on Monday - 13 January 2012.
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