A woman from Oklahoma who was violently detained after being involved in a single-vehicle collision was seen on the bodycam video. She is now suing the officers who pulled her while shackled, alleging they used excessive force.
Tyler McClain, who is suing the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office and the Greenwood Police Department in Arkansas for police brutality, said that she was treated more like a suspect than a human being or person.
Around two in the morning on May 14, 2020, Tyler McClain hydroplaned her vehicle on Highway 10 in a remote area of Arkansas close to Greenwood, resulting in a car accident. She ended up crashing into a fence and then into a nearby field.
When an ambulance occurred to pass by the crash site, it assisted McClain, who, by her own account, was confused after the collision. Things started to get worse once the EMS personnel alerted the deputies.
Tyler McClain said, “When the police arrived, I was bewildered, surprised, and disoriented.”
According to the lawsuit, deputies led a lost McClain back to her car so she could retrieve her stuff. She started pulling on her bumper and opened the hood of her car to try to fix it since she thought she could still make it home on her own.
Deputies tried to catch McClain’s attention but received no response as she sat in the driver’s seat to finish gathering her items and tuck the deployed airbag back into the steering wheel compartment.
At this time, according to McClain’s attorneys, deputies grew angry because a dazed McClain was unresponsive to their orders to get out of the car.
Deputies eventually pulled McClain out of her car against her will, causing her to collapse to the ground. Deputies can be seen handcuffing McClain in bodycam footage after pulling her out of her car and placing her on the ground. McClain claims that at the time of the accident, she was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.
“All I could do was look around and there were so many people attacking me and I was confused,” Tyler McClain said of how the deputies addressed the increasingly tense situation.
Multiple deputies can be seen handcuffing McClain on bodycam footage as they try to arrest her and place her in a squad car.
Tyler McClain claimed, “[I] was screaming and crying out for help, begging them to stop putting me into greater harm.”
Tyler McClain’s mother, Talisha McClain, described the incident. “There was a phone report about a car crash, and they respond this way to my child, grabbed her out of the car, slammed her to the ground, handcuffed her, and shackled her feet,” Talisha McClain said.
The accusations against Tyler McClain were later dismissed, including the two counts of violence, obstruction, resisting arrest, and disorderly behavior.
When Talisha McClain found out what had happened, she hurried to the Arkansas Department of Corrections, where deputies had taken Tyler McClain. According to Talisha McClain, she asked for the bodycam video of the arrest as she left the jail.
“Something is wrong if you think that is OK the way they treated my daughter on that video,” Talisha McClain said.
Talisha McClain says that her daughter has been suffering from the fallout of what happened to her since the arrest. Talisha McClain stated, “She goes to the doctor, chiropractor, psychiatrist, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. DeWitt Lacy, McClain’s attorney, says that during the forceful arrest, deputies made McClain’s back and brain injuries from the vehicle accident worse.
In an effort to hold the cops responsible for her detention accountable, McClain filed a federal lawsuit on June 21, 2022, alleging that they used excessive force and wrongfully arrested her.
According to one of McClain’s attorneys, John Burris, “it’s a federal civil rights case where we’re arguing excessive force was used against her and she was falsely arrested, flashed, or detained, and criminal charges brought against her should not have been filed.”
In her federal lawsuit, McClain is requesting compensatory and punitive damages as well as the improvement of the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office and the Greenwood Police Department’s training procedures to prevent future violent arrests after automobile accidents, as she did.
According to DeWitt Lacy, one of McClain’s attorneys, “rather than the other cops who might have intervened and halted this at any point but did not, it speaks to a culture that supports this kind of behavior.”
The Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by Atlanta Black Star for comment regarding the claims made against them in the complaint, but they did not return our calls as of the time of this story. Regarding the claims made in the lawsuit, the Greenwood Police Department stated that it had “no response.”
According to Talisha McClain, she intends to keep supporting her daughter through counseling so that she may get back to being herself.
Talisha McClain stated, “I want her to get over this because they keep doing this to us and it’s not right.”