State Watch

Woman alleges she was grabbed by hair, pulled out of vehicle during NC traffic stop

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A Black woman alleged in a federal lawsuit filed last week that she was grabbed by the hair and pulled out of her vehicle by police in North Carolina during a 2019 traffic stop.

Stephanie Bottom, a Georgia librarian, said she was driving to attend her great aunt’s funeral in May of 2019 when police stopped her on the interstate, alleging she was driving 80 mph in a 70 mph zone.

Bottom, who was 66 years old at the time, says in the lawsuit that she didn’t believe that she was speeding and did not initially notice the officers trying to get her to pull over. The officers then deployed spike strips to stop her vehicle before approaching her car with guns drawn, according to the civil lawsuit.

As she stepped out of her vehicle, officers grabbed her arm and hair and forced her to lay on the ground, Bottoms alleges in the lawsuit, adding that police refused to request medical help despite severe injuries during the incident.

Four officers with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office and the Salisbury Police Department involved in the arrest were named in the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.

The Hill has reached out to the sheriff’s office and the police department for comment.

Bottom is seeking monetary damages for alleged use of excessive force and for unlawful search of her purse and vehicle.

Updated at 11:52 a.m.

Tags civil lawsuit federal court Georgia North Carolina Police

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