Wake Forest police say an officer who broke a car window and removed a driver Friday afternoon did so after she almost struck an officer, ran a stop sign and nearly hit a truck.
“[We] were forced to react to a situation that was entirely avoidable,” Police Chief Jeff Leonard said in a news release Monday night.
Officers were investigating a reported felony assault by strangulation involving a 15-year-old boy accused of assaulting a 14-year-old girl, the release stated. The incident began on Plott Hound Lane and ended on Wait Avenue, it stated.
The boy refused to cooperate, and the driver, 35-year-old Maria Del Carmen Rendon, drove off with him and three other children in the car, according to the release.
“As she drove off, Ms. Rendon came close to striking an officer with her vehicle before running a stop sign and nearly colliding with an oncoming tractor trailer,” the release stated.
Police tried to stop the car as it was leaving the neighborhood. An officer repeatedly asked Rendon to step out of the car and when she refused, told her she could open the driver’s door or have her window broken, the release stated.
The News & Observer was not able to reach Rendon for comment Monday night.
‘It’s your choice’
A video posted on YouTube and TikTok on Monday showed the encounter.
“Step out of the car,” the officer says. “You’re being detained right now.”
The woman asks why.
“Step out of the car or I’ll break your window and drag you out,” the officer says. “I don’t want to do that.”
“You have a choice. You either open the door or I break your window and I pull you out,” he says. “It’s your choice.”
“You got about five seconds,” the officer continues. “Four. Three.”
“You need to slow down before you get a lawsuit, sir,” the driver says, as children are heard crying and screaming. “You’re gonna get a lawsuit sir.”
The officer then breaks the window with a baton.
“He just broke my window, he just broke my window and all my children [are] in the car,” the woman says.
“I have glass all over me,” she says. “Wow. Wow. Wow.”
The officer then reaches in, opens the door and pulls the woman out and, with a second officer, puts her on the ground.
The woman, who has handed off her phone, tells one of the passenger to record.
‘Resistance at every turn’
Rendon, of Wake Forest, was arrested and charged with resist, delay and obstruct, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, driving while license revoked, and careless and reckless driving, according to the release.
The male suspect was also taken into custody, the release stated.
In the release, the police chief says the officer acted “due to Ms. Rendon’s continued refusal to exit the vehicle.”
“None of this would have happened had Ms. Rendon not recklessly fled the scene endangering the lives of her young passengers and motorists in the area and had she exited her vehicle when officers repeatedly asked her to do so,” Leonard said in the release.
“Most of our residents offer no resistance during the calls we respond to, but unfortunately in this case we met resistance at every turn from Ms. Rendon and the male suspect, he said.
Court records show Rendon also was charged in March with four misdemeanors: assault with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon with a minor present, communicating threats, and assault and battery.
The charges were dismissed in July, because the victim was not present for the hearing, records show, and the judge rejected the prosecutor’s motion to continue the case.