Body camera footage from two Solano County sheriff's deputies tells a far different story than they told in their official report, and an August 6, 2020 incident on the freeway in Dixon may now get investigated following a federal lawsuit.
Nakia Porter, 33, says she was driving through Dixon with her father and three young children and had pulled to the side of the road to switch drivers. As the Associated Press reports via a federal court filing, the family was headed from Oakland, where they had gone on a trip, to Orangeville, northeast of Sacramento. Two sheriff's deputies, Dalton McCampbell and Lisa McDowell, reportedly pulled up behind Porter with lights flashing, as she was standing outside the driver's side door. She explained they were just switching drivers, but she was ordered back in the car.
It's unclear whether Porter remained outside the car, but in edited bodycam footage obtained by Porter's attorney, you can see her shoved against the car, and then down to the pavement.
At one point, Porter looks into one of the deputies' cameras and says, "For those that are listening, I am not resisting. You are not reading me my rights."
Porter, who is Black and stands five-feet-two-inches tall, says that she was then punched and knocked unconscious as she was being handcuffed, and McCampbell can be heard saying, "I think she's out."
Paramedics were called, and the deputies are then heard lying about how long Porter was unconscious — Porter estimates it was about five minutes, and she came to in the back of the officers' squad car. The deputies tell paramedics she was able to walk to the squad car herself.
"Thankfully, the video evidence contradicted the fabricated facts,” says attorney Yasin Almadani, who is representing Porter. “So what occurred here, we believe, was a racially motivated beating and terrorizing of a Black family."
Almadani believes the incident should be investigated by the district attorney's office as an excessive force case.
Solano County DA Krishna Abrams has recused herself in a couple of officer-involved shooting cases in the last year, citing her office's working relationship with law enforcement.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced last month that his office would soon have its own investigative teams in the field to respond to police shooting cases of unarmed civilians.
In Porter's case, thankfully, she was not shot or killed, but the suit claims she was injured and seeks unspecified damages.
But why was she even arrested? The deputies claimed they saw mismatched license plates on the car, with a Maryland plate on the front that did not match the California plate on the back. However, by their own admission, they ran the California plate and it did not come back as stolen, and it matched the description of the vehicle.
Porter ended up spending a night in jail and was charged with resisting arrest. Those charges were dropped.
"What’s concerning here is the use of force,” says Alexander, speaking the AP. “There needs to be a full investigation conducted outside of the sheriff’s department, preferably by a district attorney’s office."