Suffolk County police say they are reviewing an encounter involving a Deer Park woman and several police officers that ended with them dragging her out of her car and wrestling her to the ground Sunday night — a struggle that was shot on video by a neighbor.
Nyeaira Fulton, 22, was charged with reckless driving, obstructing governmental administration and fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle, all misdemeanors. She was also issued numerous tickets for driving with a suspended registration, not having insurance, failing to surrender her license plates and running two stop signs.
Fulton pleaded not guilty to all charges when she was arraigned Monday, Suffolk County District Attorney spokesman Robert Clifford said.
Police said the encounter, which took place at 6:18 p.m. on East First Street in Deer Park, was sparked after an electronic license plate reader flagged the suspended registration of the black 2013 BMW Fulton was driving.
Video shot by a neighbor, Joey Pappas, begins with an officer leaning into Fulton’s car. Police said she had been pulled over after a pursuit. The video shows the passenger side window of the car had been shattered. An officer can be heard repeatedly ordering Fulton to get out of her car.
“Get out of the car,” the officer says. “Do not drag me,” she says. “Get off of me!” she adds when he tries to remove her from the car, at one point pulling her by both ankles. As two more officers move in to assist, he grabs the back of her head. The officers push her down onto a neighbor’s front lawn and handcuff her. The officers then steer her, as she resists, into the back seat of a waiting police cruiser.
Pappas, 26, said in an interview that before he began filming he saw Fulton speed down the street, hit a stop sign and lose control of her car.
Suffolk police review all incidents involving use of force, spokesman Justin Meyers said. Department policy calls for officers to use “minimum force necessary for a given situation … reasonable in degree to the extent that it is necessary to effect cooperation and control of the situation,” he said in an email.
By Wednesday afternoon, a video of the encounter posted on Pappas’ Facebook page had drawn 120,000 views.
Fulton was released on $250 bail and is due in Suffolk County court Oct. 25. It was not immediately clear if she had a lawyer, and attempts to reach her were not successful.