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. William – not quite dead… and a marvelous insight. But I bet he’s got a terrific sense of humor.

  2. Dead thread probably, but, for future reference of the commentariat here, an explication of the nym “ricardocabeza”, might be in order: “ricardo”=”richard”=”d**k”; “cabeza”=”head. So, we have here a guy who refers to himself as “d**khead”. Whatever his merits, or lack thereof, he doesn’t seem to suffer from too much self-esteem.

  3. Can’t wait until he or his mother gets rickety arthritic bones. Let us see if he gets it. He is cruel, he could have helped her get up and escorted her out like a gentleman instead of a thug. I can barely stand and it hurts like the devil. Does that mean I can’t participate in life? No, it just takes longer! They say that youth is wasted on the young, I know what that means? You all will someday!

  4. Re: the Mitchell case linked to by Otteray Scribe, as well as the case of the young mother who was arrested after complaining to the judge about sexual assault (Bruce E. Woych linked video) both these appear to be the “work” of police agencies in the Las Vegas area. I suppose anything truly goes out there; it is a place I shall avoid. The distressing thing is that the same scenarios can play out in thousands of jurisdictions nationwide. When did we decide that crime was so bad that our civil liberties no longer count and that the police should have unlimited power?

  5. LottaKatz:

    I think I might have not been clear. I am not defending these officers in what they did, I was simply pointing out that if the had directed this woman to leave and she refused and clung to the chair for several minutes after she was told she was under arrest I could understand the resisting arrest charge. HOWEVER, that is entirely dependent upon active resistence and not simply being unable to move quick enough. Even if that was the case the rough treatment of this woman in my view does not justify the actions.

    One could also wonder if this woman was so much disobeying the law that she was forcibly arrested then what of those others in the video who were standing around were’nt arrested either. My guess is that this woman didn’t move fast enough for that guy that put the cuffs on her and his ego got the best of him and he acted like a thug.

  6. I agree with lotta. The woman was probably waiting for the crowd to clear so she wouldn’t get jostled. She was trying to collect her stuff and would have left without issue if the bully-thug had just left her alone. She may have had range of motion issues which would have made his twisting of her arms even more painful. As we get older some of us lose the agility and balance we once had that allows us to keep our balance when pushed around. We can only wonder what would have happened if his pushing her around resulted in her ending up on the floor. If he did it to me, he would have had to pick me up or shoot me for disobeying his bs orders.

    The only charges should be against the cop.

    “This offense was committed against the peace and dignity of The State of Texas.” Strange words to have together in one sentence.

  7. Darren: “Another question was how long she was sitting and holding onto the chair. ”

    She reached down to get her belongings and then was immediately yanked up by the cop. This was physical abuse of the woman. Really, you need to look at the video again, without the rose-colored glasses. She was not resisting, she was complying when she was roughed-up. The fact that she was the last to ‘leave’ I can explain instantly- she was old enough to be prudent and not wanting to possibly be jostled by a moving crowd for fear of falling. My mother was always the last to get up and move away from a table etc. for just that reason at the same age.

    If the cops are going to start treating old people like prima facie criminals for their frailties then just – you know, those banned words. This was outrageous and she’s lucky he didn’t break her arm. But old codgers bruise easy- I bet she was black and blue where he grabbed her. I’d put money on it. I know how easy it is to do first-hand. I could have moved her along without conflict, with respect, and helped her comply without a second thought. If the ‘professional’ couldn’t then it’s his bad. And obviously from the report v. the video, the cop lied. She did not resist but was moving along (women have to gather their bags) when he got physical.

    And I’m tired of hearing about all the good cops out there. Serpico said in an interview I saw 30 years ago that he would not have worked for the commission if he could do it all over. he said he’d just arrest the first cop he saw break the law and every one thereafter. he’d just do his job. Yea, way to go. If all the good cops did that it would put an end to the BS in 30 days or less. Just do the job.

    I’m really just tired of hearing baseless scenarios that let cops off the hook for obviously indefensible behaviour. Just look at the video. They are out of control. I stopped calling cops “pigs” 40 years ago but I’m out of patience and seriously re-thinking that action. Maybe if I can go more than one day without reading or seeing at least 1 story (generally more) of police behaviour that would land any commentator on this blawg before a judge I’d have less vitriol.

    Bah, humbug.

  8. Stormtroupers on the march giving “orders” in command mode : Fk=U :AP

  9. When I watched what she did she should have been arrested. They should also have left her in jail to think about her actions for awhile.

  10. When a trooper says move you should interpret that to mean get up and move right now without delay otherwise you are failing to follow his orders.

  11. Darren,
    Regardless of whether the arguments are on the fourth or third amendment, the whole episode is one of those “shocks the conscience” kind of cases.


      Public Affairs Books / By Radley Balko

      “They Throw Kids on the Ground, Put Guns to Their Heads” — The Horrors Unleashed by Police Militarization
      July 10, 2013 |

      The following is an excerpt from RISE OF THE WARRIOR COP: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces [3] by Radley Balko. Reprinted with permission from PublicAffairs Books.

      Betty Taylor still remembers the night it all hit her.

      As a child, Taylor had always been taught that police officers were the good guys.

  12. Chuck.

    The link you provided just above describes some very disturbing practices by the LEOs. I found it interesting the plaintiffs were seeking damages for among other things violating their 3rd amendment rights. I was thinking the same issue myself but it would be interesting to see if applies to officers as it does soldiers.

  13. Here is my analysis.

    I don’t know what preceded this video so I don’t have enough information to give an opinion on whether the arrest was lawful, that is if she was arrested for trespassing or what the original offense was.

    As for the resisting arrest and assault on LEO charge. This is not something I would have done.

    I might wonder how much of this “resisting” was caused by the officer yanking her around.

    Another question was how long she was sitting and holding onto the chair. If it was several minutes I might see that but if it was 30 seconds, which I am speculating, that doesn’t cut it in my book for resisting. I also don’t see what the exigency was to run people out of this gallery so fast it would constitute an arrest here if she was just slow to react.

    I believe the strike of the officer with the purse was intentional, but unless the officer was injured or suffered real pain in my opinion is that it does not amount to a level sufficient for an assault charge.

    Also, one of the things they teach, or should teach, rookies in the academy is to not make such an outrageous arrest, either by being uncivilized or what, that the crowd turns on you and now you are in a world of hurt. That is a lesson that could have been useful for these guys.

  14. It only gets worse:

    LAS VEGAS (CN) – Henderson police arrested a family for refusing to let officers use their homes as lookouts for a domestic violence investigation of their neighbors, the family claims in court……. It continues: “At 10:45 a.m. defendant Officer Christopher Worley (HPD) contacted plaintiff Anthony Mitchell via his telephone. Worley told plaintiff that police needed to occupy his home in order to gain a ‘tactical advantage’ against the occupant of the neighboring house. Anthony Mitchell told the officer that he did not want to become involved and that he did not want police to enter his residence. Although Worley continued to insist that plaintiff should leave his residence, plaintiff clearly explained that he did not intend to leave his home or to allow police to occupy his home. Worley then ended the phone call.

    It continues: “The officers banged forcefully on the door and loudly commanded Anthony Mitchell to open the door to his residence.
    “Surprised and perturbed, plaintiff Anthony Mitchell immediately called his mother (plaintiff Linda Mitchell) on the phone, exclaiming to her that the police were beating on his front door.
    “Seconds later, officers, including Officer Rockwell, smashed open plaintiff Anthony Mitchell’s front door with a metal ram as plaintiff stood in his living room.
    “As plaintiff Anthony Mitchell stood in shock, the officers aimed their weapons at Anthony Mitchell and shouted obscenities at him and ordered him to lie down on the floor…..

    There is a lot more to the story, and it actually gets worse. Story at the link:

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