Posted at: 01/22/2014 6:42 PM
Updated at: 01/22/2014 6:50 PM
By: Travis Dill
A Superior woman faces a felony charge of battery to a peace officer, but she said the officer used excessive force in her arrest. Video from a police dashboard camera captured some of the incident, but both sides are looking for video recorded by witnesses.
On Jan. 5, Natasha Lancour, 28, was arrested outside Keyport Lounge for allegedly striking a police officer. She doesn't agree with the felony charge filed against her.
“I knew it was wrong. I knew I didn't do it,” Lancour said.
She said it was hard to watch her arrest by Superior Police Officer George Gothner. Video from Gothner's dashboard camera shows him responding to the report of a fight in the bar's parking lot. Lancour's brother and brother-in-law were in handcuffs when Gothner arrived.
Lancour said she was upset by what was happening and yelling. She said Gothner grabbed her and began swearing while ordering her to back up and remain silent. Lancour said she swore back at the officer, and Gothner's report states he went to arrest her.
“That's when he turned back around, and he snatched me up and dragged me to the car,” Lancour said.
The video of the altercation shows Gothner forcing Lancour onto the hood of his vehicle. Gothner can be heard saying, “Stop resisting.” Lancour's head then hits the hood and she slips out of Gothner's grasp. The video also shows Gothner swinging at least twice at Lancour's head.
In his report Gothner writes, “Suddenly Lancour reached up with her left hand and struck and scratched me across the right side of my face.”
Gothner's report states that caused him pain and his reaction was a closed fist punch to Lancour's face. He wrote that it was meant to stop her actions.
Lancour said photos from the next day show bruising under her eye and swelling to her jaw.
“I looked at my face and I looked like cyclops. I didn't look like myself,” Lancour said.
Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse said the use of force in the arrest is being reviewed. Meanwhile he said Gothner remains on duty.
“We've sent this incident out for review by an outside agency, a use-of-force expert and instructor for over 20 years, and we don't have that result back yet so I can't comment on the findings of that,” LaGesse said.
He said the video shows bystanders recording or photographing the incident. LaGesse said those witness were not questioned the night of the incident, but he wants those witnesses to contact police.
A hearing in Lancour's case is scheduled for Jan. 31 and her defense attorney Rick Gondik also wants to hear from those witnesses.
“It's imperative that we find these gentlemen, in particular those that were taking video on their phones, before that date because we absolutely have to right this wrong,” Gondik said.
If anyone was right or wrong in this incident may ultimately be decided by the independent report and the courts. The results of the independent report are expected next week.
The police department said Officer Gothner would not be available for comment outside of what he put in his report.
Lancour and her attorney said she has never been arrested before, had not been drinking, and was the designated driver that night.