Trooper Grabs 74-Year-Old Woman And Then Arrests Her After She Hits Him With Her Purse For Being Rough

2ae335a7-aae3-452e-923b-92038ba46006_zps1fcf6bddTexas has been the scene of intense protests and debates over a senator’s filibuster to block an abortion bill. As reporters were threatened with arrest and other controversies mounted, this scene unfolded in the gallery. According to reports, a 74-year-old woman was arrested for assaulting an officer after the Lt. Governor ordered the gallery to be closed. Troopers then encountered Martha Northington who did not move fast enough out of her chair.

In the arrest affidavit, officers reportedly said that Northington resisted by grabbing her seat. However, Northington appears to reach down to pick up her purse. The officer then grabs her roughly and yanks her out of her seat. She protests that the trooper is hurting her and appears to tap or hit the trooper with her purse. She is immediately arrested.

The officer is quoted as writing:

“She attempted to resist by grabbing the chair, not standing, and pulling back from me. We broke her hold of the chair and got her up and as I escorted her up the gallery steps Trooper Hall released her. I was escorting her by the arm up the steps by myself and she continued to try and pull away from me. At the top of the stairs, she spun and slapped my face with her open hand and told me to let her go. The intentional slap to the face by Northington was offensive and I was currently wearing a State Trooper uniform…At this point i spun her around and proceeded to handcuff her for the assault. While trying to handcuff her she continued to resist by pulling her arms and attempted to twist away from me…Ms. Northington was transported to Travis County SO without further incident…
This offense was committed against the peace and dignity of The State of Texas.”

The video does not show any serious striking of the officer, though she appears to lightly hit him with her purse not her hand. She was reportedly charged with Assault on a Public Servant, a third degree felony. A felony. That overcharging was reduced by the arraigning magistrate to Resisting Arrest and Assault by Contact, Class A and Class C misdemeanors.

We have previously seen officers charge people with battery or assault over air kisses, bubbles, hugs, pillow fights, errant french fries, and even flatulence and raspberries.

I fail to see the necessity for any criminal charge. The officer was quite aggressive given the age of the individual and her response, while wrong and ill-advised, appears almost reflex response to what she said was painful handling. It seems that it was the officers who unnecessarily escalated the confrontation. Even if the officers felt that she had to be be forcibly removed, the criminal charge seems quite gratuitous and the account of the officer of a slap does not appear to match the video.

What do you think?

64 thoughts on “Trooper Grabs 74-Year-Old Woman And Then Arrests Her After She Hits Him With Her Purse For Being Rough”

  1. I see myself in that feisty older lady and think I’ll add some bricks to my purse when I got out protesting some day. Looks like we ought to be prepared better than just toting a purse.

  2. Bruce, The conduct of that court and staff is abominable. Patricia Doninger should indeed be fired. Totally outrageous.

  3. the “top comment” from the above legal atrocity states:
    Top Comments

    by Tyler Durden 1 week ago

    “If you are outraged, call the Clark County Court at (702) 455-1500 and request that the Hearing Master Patricia Doninger be fired on grounds of incompetence and failure to uphold justice. Or call Patrica Doninger Domestic Violence Commissioner at (702) 455-2434 and ask for her resignation. Her job is to protect citizens in the court and uphold the law. She is obviously unfit for her position. She knows that there was no probable cause for a search and that it was done illegally. Thumbs up.”

  4. But this one is beyond all belief: Multiple Marshals and a Woman Court Judge does nothing! Woman Sexually Assaulted in Court Gets Arrested for speaking up!

  5. Following up through some of the above alternative YouTube offerings I came across several that are excessive. This is one

  6. “She attempted to resist by grabbing the chair…”


    This isn’t just a case of a police officer being overly aggressive. It’s a case of an officer being resoundingly socially ignorant. Has he never had any contact with an elderly person? The last few years before my elderly mother passed away, her routine for getting out of a chair was to very firmly grip the arm rests and slowly push herself up. This officer had the patience of a two year old.

  7. Officer says the slap was “offensive”. I didn’t know offensive was a crime. He took this personally from the get go it appears.
    (and I immediately read Ricardo’s comment to be sarcasm)

  8. Welcome to the Police State of the USA. But this is merely the beginning. A bit further down the line, the next logical steps in the process of the abrogation of civil rights will be something along the lines of the following (from Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 masterpiece, Battleship Potemkin):

  9. [music] The eyes of Texas are upon you..
    All the live long day!

    What I don’t get is why the people present there did not caution this schmuck to lay off the old lady and restrain himself. He needs to go to prison and get a whippin every day.

  10. “Thug” is the first word that comes to my mind (right you are Gene), followed by “sue”. The video clearly contradicts the report. He made a point of treating her brutally.

    Kraaken, right. I nearly choked when I read that.

  11. “Peace and Dignity of the State of Texas”….hah! If it takes beating up and brutalizing Grannies, given every other thing that truly needs addressed in Texas, to make those poor genteel uniformed cops feel a tad safer then Texas can kiss my grits…..


  12. Dredd puts it succinctly and precisely. The only way this bully gets his comeuppance is at the hands of a knowing judge. Or in a place outside his jurisdiction when he confronts the wrong person face to face. Let’s hope he meets me some day, while he is misbehaving, on neutral ground. It’s not that I would decide to act, but that I couldn’t stop myself if I witness bad behavior!

  13. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but this shows how law enforcement in Texas behaves when the eyes of the world are upon them. Now you have just an inkling of what goes on when they aren’t.

  14. Why is that the abusive police officer in these types of situations are rarely named? Name and shame!

  15. traveling limey, I am hoping that it’s sarcasm. I first read a post of his a few days ago and I wondered myself. I’m usually pretty good at deciding when one’s tounge is planted in ones cheek, so I HOPE it’s sarcasm. However, I fear he might be serious.

  16. Trooper’s statement: “This offense was committed against the peace and dignity of The State of Texas.”

    Didn’t realize that things such as peace and dignity truly existed in Texas. I would say that if that statement is really in the papers he filed, he needs to be arrested himself for making fasle statements in a sworn affidavit.

  17. Otteray Scribe 1, July 4, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Thanks so very much for your very serious response and critical thoughts. I think there is a question today of motivations that range full spectrum. The personality traits that make a good law enforcement cop in conflict situations can often be confused with just a thug looking for a secure job and a dominating disposition. I know two entire families of cops over the years that seemed to simply run their lives as a private enterprise of connected personal interests. Some of them were just thugs with impunity but when any of them were in trouble they simply drew on connections and banded together. Intimidation was definitely part of this process. Departments are aware of this, but it is the blue line that keeps things as normal.
    Today we are getting a more militarized mentality. Not like the WWII population of individuals who all seemed to have a collective service interest (although they played tough cop in the streets quite well, there was an entirely different rapport in those days). But today the candidates are indoctrinated with several versions of the “prove yourself” kind of bravado, and frankly these types are actually being selected for their intensity rather than screened for a sense of social responsibility. Some of them like the connections itself and feel invulnerable with a uniform on.
    When a cop sees all the negative sides of the world on a regular basis, it does condition them to feel that the outside world is a battle ground of sorts an everyone is guilty until proven innocent. The man or woman that comes into the force with that attitude to begin with is the problem.

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