A 76-year-old grandmother was left shaken after being violently thrown to the ground by a police officer outside her home.
Police arrived at Rena Mellerson’s home in Baltimore County on Friday afternoon looking for her granddaughter following a disorderly conduct incident at a different location. A neighbour in suburban Gwynn Oak, Maryland, recorded what unfolded on her mobile phone.
The unsettling video shows Ms Mellerson, who police say interfered with the arrest of her granddaughter, being led out of the house by an officer. Another officer then runs up to the front door and throws her to the ground.
Ms Mellerson proclaims her innocence, and shocked bystanders can be heard questioning why such force was used against her. By the end of the video, six officers surround the now handcuffed grandmother.
In the earlier incident, Cierra Floyd, Ms Mellerson’s granddaughter, is said by police to have cursed at officers and caused a scene.
According to family, when the officer arrived at Ms Mellerson’s home, he pounded on the front door and tried to force his way in. No mention was made of having an arrest warrant for her granddaughter.
Ms Mellerson allowed the officer into the house, and Ms Floyd is said to have moved towards him in what was described as an aggressive manner, while his foot was caught in a door.
It was at this point he discharged pepper spray and a Taser was fired into a wall. All of this happened in front of Floyd’s six and nine-year-old daughters who were in the home at the time and are said to have inhaled pepper spray.
Having been forcefully removed from the house and thrown to the ground, Ms Mellerson was handcuffed, arrested and taken into custody on charges of assault, interfering with an arrest, and obstructing and hindering. She was not seriously hurt.
Floyd was also arrested and charged with similar violations in addition to a charge of disorderly conduct relating to the earlier incident.
Ms Mellerson's daughter Barbara questioned whether the officers had been properly trained and said: “A reprimand is not going to be justice for me. You can reprimand them, but I want them terminated.”
“I don’t think you need the training to know not to slam a 76-year-old woman to the ground,” added Gordon. “I don’t think you need classes for that.”
Chief Melissa Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department released a statement on Tuesday afternoon, called the video "unsettling" and said a full investigation had been ordered in which police body camera footage will be reviewed.