From the video captured by two Millville Police car dashboard cameras, emerge two very different versions of what happened in the pre-dawn hours of February 3, 2008.
The just-released video (see left) is at the center of a lawsuit in which Sheila Stevenson, 42, claims she became the victim of excessive force, after then-Millville Police Officer Carlo Drogo pulled her over for illegally riding her bicycle on a sidewalk.
In the course of trying to handcuff Stevenson, the video shows Drogo as he sprays himself in the face with pepper spray and she appears to push him. Drogo then appears to knock Stevenson to the ground to subdue her. Drogo is seen, seemingly doubled over in pain, as other officers arrive.
“I am not doing nothing,” Stevenson screamed on the video.
“Put your hands behind your back,” one of the other officers ordered.
“Can you not do this? I’m not doing nothing! I’m not doing nothing,” she wailed.
Seconds later, Drogo approaches Stevenson again and appears to punch her four times.
“Why are you hitting me? You’re hitting me! Why are you hitting me?” Stevenson cried out. “Why did you hit me and I’m handcuffed?”
Stevenson was eventually led away by officers and put into a police cruiser. She was later convicted of resisting arrest.
Stevenson’s lawyer would not comment on the case, nor would Millville’s Police chief, citing pending litigation.
Drogo resigned from the police department in October for undisclosed reasons. He would not talk with NBC 10 News on-camera, but issued a statement in which he stood by his actions and called Stevenson’s allegations a distortion of the facts.
Drogo also insisted the arrest was lawful and described Stevenson’s lawsuit as frivolous.
Meanwhile, there’s now a warrant out for Stevenson’s arrest on drug possession charges, stemming from her encounter with police that was caught on camera.