California deputies accused of knocking woman unconscious in lawsuit

Bodycam footage contradicts the official police statements after an incident during a traffic stop with Nakia Porter

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Deputies from the Solano County Sheriff’s Office are under fire for allegedly knocking a Black woman unconscious during an arrest and lying about the encounter on official reports. 

According to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, the incident occurred last summer, when Nakia Porter, 33, was traveling through the rural town of Dixon in Northern California on the night of Aug. 6, with her father, Joe Powell, and three young children.

The family was returning from a road trip to Oakland and were headed to Orangeville, northeast of Sacramento. At some point, Porter claims she pulled to the side of the road to switch drivers and was reportedly standing outside the car when two sheriff’s deputies, Dalton McCampbell and Lisa McDowell, pulled up behind her with lights flashing and ordered Porter back inside the vehicle, NPR reports. 

Nakia Porter (Bodycam screenshot)

Body cameras worn by the deputies recorded them with guns drawn on Porter before slamming her to the pavement and handcuffing her. Her father was also cuffed and briefly detained.

“For those that are listening, I am not resisting,” Porter said into the deputies’ cameras. “You are not reading me my rights.”

The bodycam footage was reportedly edited and does not clearly show Porter resisting arrest. She alleges in the court filing that the deputies punched her in the head and stomach, kneeled on her back and pulled her hair. She passed out during the assault and McCampbell can be heard saying, “I think she’s out.”

Porter, who is 5-foot-2 and 125 pounds, said she was dragged unconscious to the back of the squad car, where she regained consciousness about five minutes later. When paramedics arrived at the scene, the deputies can be heard lying about how long she was knocked out, later claiming Porter walked to the squad car herself.

Porter requested to be transported to a hospital for treatment but was denied, according to the lawsuit.

“Deputies McCampbell and McDowell denied the request, continuing to lie to the paramedics by minimizing the assault and the injuries they had inflicted on Ms. Porter,” the court filing said.

The deputies said they detained the family after noticing Porter’s car had a California plate on the back and one from Maryland on the front.

“However, the deputies had called in the rear license plate to their dispatch and knew that it matched the description of the car and that there was no report of the car being stolen,” the filing states.

“Thankfully, the video evidence contradicted the fabricated facts,” said Porter’s attorney, Yasin Almadani. “So what occurred here, we believe, was a racially motivated beating and terrorizing of a Black family.”

The lawsuit accuses the deputies of lying on their arrest reports. The suit also names a superior officer who signed off on their falsified statements. 

“What’s concerning here is the use of force,” said Cedric Alexander, a police use-of-force expert and former president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. “There needs to be a full investigation conducted outside of the sheriff’s department, preferably by a district attorney’s office.”

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