‘Life upended over a piece of cheese;’ Woman shown in video being punched by officer speaks out

BUTLER TOWNSHIP — Correction: A previous version of this story stated that both officers involved were on administrative leave, this is incorrect. Both officers are under an internal investigation but only Sgt. Todd Stanley is on administrative leave.

A woman shown in a video on social media being punched by a Butler Township officer spoke out Wednesday afternoon.

Latinka Hancock sat in between her attorney Michael L. Wright and President of the Dayton NAACP Derrick L. Foward.

On Jan. 16 police responded to reports of an upset customer at a local Mcdonald’s.

When officers arrived on the scene, they said that the woman, identified as Hancock, was initially corporative. At some point, she allegedly became highly agitated and refused to identify herself to the officers, according to police.

A video taken by a bystander shows Hancock being punched multiple times in the head. In a conference earlier Wednesday, Butler Township Police Chief John Porter said the officer seen punching Hancock, Sgt. Todd Stanley was put on administrative leave.

Wright said that the police should have never been called in the first place, and the incident could have been prevented by McDonald’s.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Butler Twp. sergeant on leave after video shows him punching woman during arrest

“McDonald’s should be ashamed to resort to calling the police over a disagreement for an order that they got wrong ... to potentially put a person’s life in jeopardy over a mishandled Big Mac it doesn’t seem safe for Black people to go and eat and McDonald’s anymore,” Wright said.

He questioned the officer’s intentions going into the incident.

“It’s obvious body cam that these officers came with a chip on their shoulders, looking for a fight rather than to de-escalate,” he added.

Wright said Hancock had to spend the night in the hospital and was diagnosed with a closed head injury as well as experienced a busted lip.

Hancock also filed a Civil Rights complaint with the NAACP, Foward confirmed. He said that how police handled the situation goes against their training with the Ohio Collaborative.

While Foward and Wright spoke Hancock stared at the ground, visibly shaking.

She shared what led up to the police being called.

Hancock asked for an extra piece of cheese on her sandwich, but when she realized she wasn’t getting the sandwich she paid for she came back into the store with her receipt and asked for her order to be corrected, she said.

Hancock said the worker was instructed by her manager to resolve Hanock’s complaint but did not. She described the worker’s behavior as “aggressive.”

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Video showing Butler Twp. officer punching person multiple times during arrest under investigation

The worker then asked Hanock to leave while she called the police so Hancock waited for the police in the parking lot.

Hanock said she was scared when the police arrived.

“It was over a sandwich, a sandwich that I have to literally now sign a paper for trespassing,” she said.

She described the moment police started apprehending her and said she was not going to allow them to take her to the ground.

“So I shut up and I stood straight and I kept my feet planted on the ground, and I said ‘here I’m gonna be quiet. I’m not gonna move. I’m not gonna say anything else. I just want it to be done,’” Hancock said through tears.

Wright said body camera footage police showed during their press conference purposely did not show Hanock being punched in the head, and said police only became concerned once the bystander video circulated on social media.

“It took the video going viral for them to do something about this,” he said.

He also said he is not hopeful for the outcome of the internal investigation.

“It’s going to take one week for them to say that this officer followed their protocol, followed their procedure. We already know how they’re going to come back with their investigation. So we do need somebody independent to investigate this officer and this police department because they can’t investigate themselves,” he said.

Wright is calling for both officers to be fired and criminally charged, he is also asking that an independent investigation be done on the police department.

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