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Surprise police to investigate after video on social media shows Goodyear officer strike woman

Posted 9/7/18

The Surprise Police Department will investigate an encounter between a Goodyear police officer and a woman during an arrest that first made waves when video of the incident surfaced on social …

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Surprise police to investigate after video on social media shows Goodyear officer strike woman


The Surprise Police Department will investigate an encounter between a Goodyear police officer and a woman during an arrest that first made waves when video of the incident surfaced on social media.

It is unclear how long the investigation will take. Goodyear police in a statement says it appreciates the patience of the public as the department awaits the findings.

The incident in question happened before noon Thursday near the northwest corner of Dysart Road and Van Buren Street.

The driver, who had a suspended driver’s license, was notified that she was being arrested, according to a statement from Goodyear police. At that point, she began to retreat.

Video of the incident shows the officer trying to pull the woman, later identified Friday as Renee Armenta, 38, of Avondale, from the vehicle. In the early seconds of the video, the officer’s hand appears to strike Ms. Armenta’s face, before dragging her on the ground and finally arresting her.

NOTE: See link to video below. Warning: Viewer discretion advised due to violence, language.

A Goodyear officer allegedly struck a woman while trying to arrest her during a traffic stop Sept. 6, 2018. (Screenshot)

Police charged her with resisting arrest, drug paraphernalia and marijuana possession, and driving on a suspended license.

Police also arrested the passenger for drug possession. It does not appear he was booked into jail as of Friday morning, so the Daily News-Sun is not releasing his name.

The video appears to show the officer pointing his weapon at the passenger at some point during the incident.

Users on social media vary in their reaction to the incident, with some saying the alleged punch was uncalled for. However, others have said the driver shouldn’t have resisted.

Department responds

Goodyear police released the following statement in wake of the video’s posting on social media:

“When a conflict with a suspect occurs during an arrest, this presents a challenging and often dangerous situation for the arresting officer. The top priority of the Goodyear Police Department is the safety of the public as well as our officers. When a situation such as this occurs, it can appear frightening to passersby who don’t understand the full context of the situation.

“In the interest of transparency and maintaining the trust of our public, the Goodyear Police Department is currently investigating the specific details of this particular case. We are working to review body cam footage and conducting interviews to determine exactly what occurred.

“Once our investigation is complete and all the facts are in, we will be better able to provide accurate information as to the details of this arrest. We appreciate your patience as we conduct our thorough investigation.”

Goodyear police has since forwarded the case to Surprise police for review.

A Facebook user says she is the daughter of Ms. Armenta and has pleaded for others to share the video of the incident and inquire about it from police.

"Please share this this is my mother she needs justice! You do not do this to people!" the post states.

Traffic stop due to invalid license

The Goodyear officer initiated a traffic stop after finding out that the registered owner of a silver Chrysler 200 had an invalid license.

The officer, in a Form IV document released Friday, writes in a probable cause statement to having struck Ms. Armenta, as he was unable to control her as she resisted arrest.

He states Ms. Armenta became argumentative and refused to comply with orders to exit.

When telling her she was under arrest, the officers states Ms. Armenta made a sudden movement with her left hand and placed it in the small of her back as she backed away.

The officer, fearing an imminent physical assault, grabbed her arm in attempt to control her movement.

After her arrest, Ms. Armenta was reportedly crying while explaining why she drove, stating it was an emergency.

She did not know why she was pulled over or arrested, saying she was not thinking about her suspended license.

Records indicate Ms. Armenta has prior felony convictions and has failed to appear in court multiple times. She has served time in the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Ms. Armenta was released on her own recognizance with court dates Sept. 20 and 27.

A public defender is being assigned to her but their name was not readily available for comment.

Link to video (view at own discretion): https://www.facebook.com/CassieluvsGumby/videos/1693251394117045/.