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Caught on video: Woman rushing toward burning home in confrontation with police pulled away by her hair. San Diego officer under investigation.

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More images from the fire 

This story is getting a lot of play in the San Diego area and beyond. It surrounds a woman who came home Friday to find her home on fire. As Torazzi Hayslett ran toward the house her husband and a police officer tried to restrain her. It went downhill from there as you will see in the raw video above from the Imperial Beach Patch and read details below.

I’ve pulled video and information from a variety of sources. Included are a KGTV-TV news report that aired prior to the video surfacing (click here). It talks about the woman being restrained but a police lieutenant’s soundbite only mentions that “fire personnel attempted to restrain her”. No indication if the omission of the altercation with police was by the reporter or the lieutenant.

The same TV station later interviews a former police officer giving his opinion about the incident (click here). And they also have an interview with Torazzi Hayslett (click here).

At the bottom of the page are two videos taken by people in the neighborhood. Both capture a little bit of the early stages of the fire.

Monica Garske, Chris Chan, Diana Guevara & R. Stickney, KNSD:

The San Diego Police Department is in the process of conducting an internal investigation into one of their own officers who’s being accused of misconduct on the job.

The police sergeant in question is Sgt. Daniel McLaughlin, who was caught on video scuffling with a woman (Torazzi Hayslett) who lives at a house that caught on fire Friday on Ilex Avenue and Green Bay Street in Nestor.

In the controversial video, McLaughlin can be seen pulling the woman’s hair after she appears to hit him in the face. The woman is hysterical, running toward her burning house during the altercation. 

Khari Johnson & Ken Stone, Imperial Beach Patch:

Hayslett ran screaming toward the structure, and firefighters and San Diego police officers struggled to restrain her, the Patch video shows. The video has been shown on local television as well.

While being carried away from the scene, Torazzi grabbed part of a fire truck.

Husband Alex Hayslett was pulling her away when McLaughlin forcibly took her hand from the truck, and she swung at the officer’s face.
 He reacted by dragging her by the hair, video shows.

At one point, the officer reached over Alex to grab Torazzi by the hair.

Minutes later, Torazzi Hayslett was in handcuffs, dismaying a crowd of more than 50 onlookers and neighbors.

Aaron Burgin, U-T San Diego:

“Due to allegations arising from this incident, we are conducting an internal investigation into the matter,” Lt. Andra Brown, a police spokeswoman, said Saturday. “Because it is a personnel matter, we are not able to make any further comment.”

McLaughlin was involved in a 2009 incident in which a jury found that he used unreasonable force and was negligent during a sidewalk encounter that left a longtime homeless advocate injured.

The jury awarded John David Ross, also known as the “Water Man,” nearly $4,000 in damages. 

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Comments - Add Yours

  • OhioFF

    How does that saying go?

    When in the hood……..

    Wiat. That’s not it. I’m sorry, but if you’re DUMB enough to take a swing at a cop, then you deserve anything that comes your way. This is (used to be) a civilized society. Why is it okay for a select few to act in this manner? What’s even more disturbing, are the morons on the other end of the camera, spouting off about it being on film. Glad I don’t live in SD anymore.

    • Lily

      We’re glad u don’t live here in San Diego anymore either… I bet u wouldn’t come in the HOOD & make a comment like that… U racist bastard

  • mark

    OK, so she was interfering with the FD. A cop helps out so the FF can do their job. She doesn’t like it and takes a swing at him. (I love the one story that says it “appears” she swung at him. There ain’t no appearance about it, it happened.) Bad things happen when one attempts to assault a LEO. COPS and AST have been around long enough on TV that she should know this.

    It should work out well for her when she claims to remember everything that occurred exactly as it occurred and then the city lawyer will introduce her statement that she had tunnel vision.

    As for the ex-cop giving his opinion, good ole hindsight. Maybe the cop should have handled it differently, pepper spray or a tazer would have worked as well.

    Bunch of idiots in this country.

  • Bri

    Exactly! She strikes the cop, he takes her down… he doesn’t beat on her . What’s the prob! It is a shame that his past FUBAR will bite him in the ass.

  • Tom Galvaston

    I didn’t see the cop do anything wrong. He was trying to move her back & she took a swing at him. He then tried to put her on the ground, I assume to cuff her but the guy holding her up prevented that from happening. The cop didn’t “Grab her hair”, his grip slipped up as the guy was pulling her away. Non story.

  • He

    She’s lucky it wasn’t this cop,, there’s a 12 second commercial before the video starts. Video is courtesy of CBS News.

  • Sharppointy1

    This is an upsetting video to watch. I thought the police are trained to deal with emotionally disturbed people? Ms Hayslett appears to be flailing hysterically, not directing a blow at McLaughlin.
    Once Ms Hayslett’s husband had her in a secure hold, Mclaughlin goes way over the top in pulling her hair in retaliation for her swing. In my job as a psychiatric nurse we are retrained yearly in how to control out of control people. The police should also have that kind of training. He’s the “professional” – he should have recognized hysteria and handled Ms Hayslett with much more self control and restraint. His assault on her is uncalled for childish retaliation.
    I think the video shows clearly that McLaughlin did not learn from his previous legal action where he hurt a homeless advocate. I’m glad he’s on leave and I’m especially glad the SDPD is investigating this. The video shows the officer lets his emotions overrule his good sense in a vicious way.

    • Srw

      Police officers DO have that training, and use it more often than a psych nurse. The officer is correct in trying to subdue any individual that has attempted to assault him (a felony in California
      ),Her efforts are easily seen as intentional.The officers efforts are not “retaliation” however his technique and lack of support were factors.He would be remiss in his duty not to attempt to subdue her, as her next actions could be of harm to herself or others. In all probability, he stopped her from getting herself and others into a increasingly harmful situation. There is no excuse ( “hysteria”) or otherwise for this woman’s actions. To attempt now to make money from this incident is despicable on this family’s part, but not surprising at all

      • michaelmch

        she swung at the cop more than once,the cop would have go into trouble if he did not arrest that simple ahole,what kind of lawer would take this case with tape of her trying to assult the cop moe than once,it is normal for the investigation to put the cop on desk duty,she will be arrested for assult on a police officer,she is trying to divert attention from her assult,it will not work,such a desperate movebut what do you expect from a oboma voter,lol,losers.

  • http://none Engine 5er

    Start with the firefighter who simply pushes her away. How about some compassion tough guy? Her house is on fire. Let her vent. She has no right to swing an open hand towards the cop and he could have used a little help in controlling her better. Maybe then it would not have looked so bad and and he would not have to expain his use of force. The other cop is so fat and out of shape she does nothing but flex out. Another video shows an engineer moving with no sense of urgency and the filmer commenting on that and then laughing with the situation. Then we got “Coolio” as the news man doing interviews. Another sunny day in Cali

    • Anonymous

      How about the woman using a little bit of self control. Upsetting, yes it is to have you house on fire but it doesn’t give you the right to start assaulting other people. Even more so for assaulting a police officer. The problem begins with the woman, not the police officer. I am sure you would not be happy if she assaulted one of your family members or possibly your children. Or would that be totally different, right?

      • dave statter

        Yes. I don’t think anyone is arguing that the problem begins with the woman. She was out of control. Hitting a police officer is not acceptable behavior.

        The point many have brought up is do you take into account the cirumstances of why she was out of control (and for all I know the officer did).

        I will say again, we see lots of police officers making excuses for fellow officers when they get involved in something bad or even criminal (not referring to this officer or this case) that we should give them a break because of the stress they are under just being a cop (while not as frequent, I’ve heard the same about firefighters). You could just as easily say you don’t know the stress this woman is under seeing her home burn and thinking a loved one may be inside.

        My question is should the answer to this be your answer of “she hit a cop, end of story” or rather we should one where we take into account other factors in deciding how to proceed. If this woman were just told she lost a child or children in the fire would you feel the same way or maybe a little sympathy.

        My questions aren’t directed at this incident or to the police officer involved. It’s to the people posting who see this as such a black and white issue (not talking about race). If you are going to be a hard ass about it I suggest make sure you are just as tough when it is one of your own. People in public safety don’t endear themselves to the public they serve when there is a double standard.



  • Sir Isaac Newton

    “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”

  • NYFF

    For those of you who didn’t actually watch the video closely, it is very apparent that the husband had her restrained and the cop physically grabbed her hand off of the fire truck and that’s when she swung. With her house burning we must not forget that she wasn’t in any decent state of mind. For if you read further it states that she thought someone was still in the house. As for the cop, he shouldn’t have been on the street in the first place. He had previously been found guilty in an excessive force case. I believe that after one excessive force allegation officers should go on desk work until they can get some help emotionally/mentally. There is no need to handcuff a person because they’re upset that their house is burning. It’s for this reason that cops should be on traffic control ONLY on house fires. Nothing good ever comes from having big headed, buffed up thugs as the country’s “law enforcement”.

    • NYFF

      Also, as firefighters we forget that when we respond to an alarm it is because someone is having the WORST day of their lives. Because we see this stuff everyday we become numb but we can’t forget that this woman was having the worst day of her life.

    • The Jackson 5

      ” One bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch “

    • Agates1272

      At what point in the video did the LEO ever try to handcuff the woman? HE DIDN’T.

      Yes, it must absolutely suck to come home and find your home and all that you own in flames. And yes, the cheese would have probably slid off my cracker too if it was my home. But there is no excuse for taking a swing at a cop. I think the cop handled himself appropriately here. I don’t think he ever intended to pull her hair, but amidst all her flailing and his attempts to get control of her, it happened. Oh fricken well. After the husband dragged her off, the LEO did not pursue her or attempt to take her into custody. I think that fact RIGHT THERE tells the whole story. His past problems be damned, I think he acted appropriately in this case.

  • Barney Miller

    Well I guess when she appears at the police department to sign the complaint they can formaly charge her with assaulting a police officer and interfearing with an emergency scene. All this and in a couple months both sides will publicly make nice. The good reverend will be there and we will sing coom by ya.

  • CJ

    I would have arrested the dumb ass women, Interfering with a fire scene and assaulting a police officer. The officer did the right thing, try getting smacked twice in the face and see what you do.

  • Puzzled

    If that had been in Texas, she’d been on the recieving end of a tazer.

  • Anonymous

    To the last few that are excusing the behavior of Mrs. Hayslett:

    I’m not interested in your RN training.

    The video begins with firefighters keeping her back and thus not completing the tasks that they should be doing. I’m sure in the vast firefighting career that Mrs. Hayslett has had, she could teach those inconsiderate firefighters a thing or two if they would only let her to the house. They didn’t even offer her a set of gear to use. MEANIES!!

    The officer comes in to remove her from the scene and thus stop her from interfering with public safety personnel doing their jobs. As he is moving her away she grabs the rear handhold of the apparatus. I don’t think a “Pretty please young lady, but would you mind removing your phalanges from the apparatus?” would have worked here. So he rightly moved them for her.

    She then takes TWO INTENTIONAL swings at the officers face as Mr. Hayslett was trying himself to remove her from the scene. The officer then tries to gain control of her swinging hand, which did not work. It looks to me as he then goes for control of her head to take her to the ground. His grip slips and the next thing he grabs is her hair and it still looks like he tries to go for the take down but the husbands gets her moving first.

    The officer should have done this. She battered a Law Enforcement Officer! I know things are a little more liberal on the left coast, but my guess is that battery of an LEO is still a crime there. Not only should he have taken her to the ground for arrest, he should have continued after her and given her a personal escort to jail.

    To those concerned about her “mental state”. ***Warning***I’m going to use an extreme example here. What if in her excited state she brandished a weapon and injured (or worse) a FF, LEO, or bystander? Would you excuse that too? Of course not, and you shouldn’t excuse her behavior her either. What if she wasn’t restrained and ran into the house only to become a fatality. Now who’s in trouble? She was removed for everyone’s safety, including hers.

    Other than an occasional blocked street or fire hydrant, our law enforcement counterparts do a great job for us by keeping nonsense like this from occurring. They are welcome on the edges of my fire scene any time.


    • Mischief

      I will give you a less extreme example:

      What if she had taken the officers eye out with her swings? Would you excuse her behavior?

    • Sharppointy1

      Anonymous, I mention my RN status to point out that over the many years I have been a nurse, I have been assaulted several times. In psychiatry, many patients are potential assault risks and because of that we have a very systematic training, repeated every year. This teaches us to de-escalate situations, to block or deflect punches or slaps or wildly flailing arms. We are taught safe techniques to get people to the ground and under our control and none of those techniques involves pulling the hair of a person who is already being physically restrained.
      In no way do I compare my job to that of a police officer’s. I have huge respect for the police and their very difficult job. I know, though, that there are ways to handle out of control people without having to be assaultive yourself. I know and have used the safety techniques that protect the patient/person without either me or the patient hurt.
      I agree that the officer removing her from the firefighters was appropriate; my sole problem with what I saw on the video was what seems clear overreaction and lashing out anger, rather than a controlled professional trying to keep a scene safe.

  • RJ(in florida)

    After having read the posts thus far i have come up with the following observations

    This would not be a story of the cop was black

    to those that say compassion in needed i will say that in my 25+ years, i have seen people react in various ways in situations like this and I have been assaulted on scenes and i didnt press charges because i accepted that they were under some emotional stress at the time

    but…i never got an apology from any of them under the “thats what they get paid for” rule. i accepted it at the time but i have a hard time accepting that some people feel it’s ok to beat up or interfere (thus endangering my life and the lives of my partners)or it was a momentary loss of control because of the situation. if the bystanders feel it was so wrong, i cant help but notice that NOBODY in the crowd rushed in to help her from going into a burning building reguardless of what she “thought”. the person with the camera in the end was only interested in “i got it all on tape”

    since everyone is so into justice remember…SHE HIT THE COP & THE FIREFIGHTERS FIRST. and to assault the people that are there to help you (in my opinion) is not an excuse or grounds for whatever legal course she may or may not persue and she should consider herself lucky she got hauled off instead of charged or taken into protective custody which would have caused a riot. The cop(s) showed alot of restraint and i can only hope that somebody other than me saw that everyone involved probibly saved her life by not letting her get hurt

  • Duke

    Everyone there had a job to do. The home owners was to remain calm and not get in the way. Taking a swing at the people there to protect you is never OK……

  • Former Chief

    I watched the video a few times, with the sound off. The woman is struggling with two Firefighters and they’re having some trouble restraining her. Her husband is doing nothing to contol her until the Police Officer comes over to help restrain her and move her back. She continues to resist, strikes the officer once and takes another swing at him while her husband is restraining her. And we can’t hear what is being said during the altercation. I realize she’s having a bad day, but when did it become OK to hit a Police Officer? Sorry to the people here defending her, but in my opinion, she got her break when they didn’t charge her. And, according to her interview, she’s already retaining an attorney to sue. Nice role model there for her third grade students.

    • dave statter

      Former Chief and others, here are some thoughts & questions for you about the video. I don’t really think this is a issue of whether it is okay to hit a police officer. It isn’t. Was he justified in taking action when that happened?Probably.

      The more relevant questions are did he have to take the action he did and was that the right thing to do? That really is the discussion here. The black and white of the written law isn’t always the answer to the question, it comes in the gray that goes with good judgment. We often here how the officer made a “judgment call” on whether to ticket or arrest someone.

      What I want to know is if the police officer’s actions were based on doing what’s best to handle the problem or did he do what he did out of anger?

      I have seen many cases where police officers and others in public safety take action based on their emotions and not what’s best for the situation at hand.

      We would all like members of the public like this woman to have good judgment and keep their emotions reasonably under control in situations like these, but that isn’t realistic. What is more realistic is to expect police and firefighters to evaluate and act as professionals who check their emotions at the door while dealing with emotional scenes.

      In my opinion answering those questions hosestly is much more to the point of this rather than just saying she swung at a cop and was out of control, end of story.


      • Former Chief

        Dave, I don’t think we can answer your question just based on what we see and hear on the video. We don’t know what was said during the confrontation. Did the woman threaten the officer? We don’t know. Was there anger involved on the officers part, we can only guess. Based on the video alone, I have to give the officer the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure, at the time, the officer thought he was doing what he had to do. Would he do something differently if he had it to do over? We’ll have to ask him.
        I’ll turn your question around a little though. Why didn’t the woman’s husband intervene and control her before the officer got involved? The confrontation would have never happened if he was able to control his wife before she interfered and before she struck the officer. Where was the female officer when the woman was confronting the firefighters? Did she not want to get involved and the senior officer was forced to take action? We can’t really answer those questions either. What we do know, the woman was being restrained by the Firefighters and the Police Officer intervened to assist them. The reasons for everything else will have to be answered by someone above our pay scale.

        • dave statter

          We know the emotions of the public run high at times like these and they do very unwise things. That’s a given. The professionals in public safety should be the ones who can control their emotions at a time of crisis. And it would be nice to know that did happen here, though some think otherwise.

          As I said before, in general and not necessarily about this case, I have read many. many comments from police officers (and sometimes fire and EMS) that when they are caught doing something wrong, that the public should give them a break because of the stresses of the job. It has become a routine excuse. Shouldn’t that same courtesy apply (within reason) when a member of the public is faced with a sudden extremely stressful situation? Shouldn’t those of you who are taking this hard line that you swing you get cuffed also consider the circumstances surrounding what happened?

          In my long career in news and brief one in fire/EMS I have seen that type of compassion from many in law enforcement who have been willing to look the other way at something like this as long as they can get the situation to calm down. They saw it as a win to deescalate the situation. I have also witnessed first hand many who didn’t buy into that concept and watched some scenes turn very ugly.

          Maybe it is the Internet or social media making it easy to just spout off with these very hard line observations that don’t allow gray to be the answer instead of black or white. Or maybe it’s just most in law enforcement today would look at even considering such an idea as a sign of weakness (read the comments on Law Officer’s Facebook page and very, very few say anything other than lock her up).

          If you want the public to have some compassion for you when you screw up (and this is not directed at you Former Chief) shouldn’t you at least entertain the entirety of the circumstances in your judgment of others? At least in your postings on the Internet, if not on the street. It’s become a real double standard and does not help the image of law enforcement.


          • Former Chief

            Dave, you make a lot of valid points. And yes, the general public certainly deserves our compassion when their home is on fire, or a loved one is sick or injured, or a crime has been committed against them. I too have seen that compassion exhibited in most situations. But, first responders are human, and there are those times that our emotions get the best of us in spite of our training and professionalism. Was this incident one of those times? Should we give the woman the benefit of the doubt because her home was on fire? Maybe. We really don’t know because we’re trying to formulate an opinion based on about one minute of video. We don’t know what happened before or what was said by the woman, her husband, or the officer. As we all know, hindsight is 20/20. I think the benefit behind seeing incidents on video is the training possibilities for all of us. Even if it’s just a discussion around the kitchen table or during roll call, or on a blog like Statter. We as first responders should at least be able to discuss and critique what we see to determine if we can handle a particular situation better. I have never been in law enforcement, althought I have worked closely with them over my years in emergency services. I wouldn’t want to be a cop, especially today. It seems respect for the police has diminished greatly over time. We can debate the various reasons, but it certainly doesn’t make their job any easier. Keep up the good work and lively discussion.

          • dave statter

            I enjoy playing devil’s advocate in these things. As always Former Chief I admire your atttitude and your understanding of the spirit of my questions.

            Having gone through what they used to call “Shoot, don’t shoot” 25-years-ago and the later versions and retitles, I concluded long ago I never want to have to make the split-second judgments those in law enformcement have to.

            In fact it is my admiration for law enforcement that has me bring up some of the issues I do, particularly when it involves the Internet/SM comments issues I brought into the discussion. I worry that the attiude that sometimes prevails on those forums will further erode that respect by the public.

            Always look forward to your input.


  • slackjawedyokel

    If this had been a public safety department, it would have been no problem , a “fireman” could have just “spannered” her. Pulled his cuffs from his bunkers. End of story

  • Anonymous

    Dumbass people need to learn what “get back” means.

  • FireNuke127

    Compassion! Have we forgotten this word and what it means. No doubt everyone involved could have handled this better. I tell my guys, ‘It’s your job to make someones life better’. Compassion is how we do that. I have no respect for people who assault public safety officials. That being said, the reaction was not ‘equal and opposite’ as some have said. She was being actively restrained by someone else at the time the officer put his hands on her. Notice also the way he continues after her while she is being carried away. Look at that and ask who really wanted to fight there.

  • WillMega06

    Regardless of her trauma, she was in the wrong. First she tussled with the Firefighters then she hit a Police Officer not once but twice while being “actively restrained”. I believe in this case it would be appropriate to use non-leathal means to gain compliance then cuff her until she calmed down. I understand being upset, but the young lady was doing too much.

  • SFC

    Did anyone catch the criticism in the 2nd video, of how slow the firefighter was gearing up to fight the fire. Perhaps, if the male recording the video doesn’t like it, he can cross the border and see how it’s done in his ancestor’s land. No doubt a neighborhood full of Obama supporters.

    • Thomas More

      Hey SFC….do me a favor and stay out of my neighborhood. When the frig did politics enter the discussion including the remark about ancestry. Are your ancestors paleo-indian migrants onto North America? If not, there is zero need to bring race or ancestry into the discussion.

      I am assuming you are in a public safety role here or you wouldn’t be here so when did you decide which people we save and which we dont? Do you get to decide that based on race, ethnicity, or what? As a responder who walks into lots of different people’s homes some white, some black, and many others I see all kinds of lifestyles…some of which I find abhorrent, but my job is to put their puzzle back together, many times a puzzle they broke themselves.

      This is an honorable profession and if you believe you get to tell certain groups of people to go to this land or that, you should reconsider. This is a profession (fire, EMS, and cops) that need fewer Barnie Fifes and more Andy’s.

      • SFC

        Let’s get serious, did you watch the second video?
        It’s a joke, I take my job very seriouly and go out of the way to help others.

  • Anonymous

    It looks to me that he first tried to get a grip around her upper torso when the husband, perhaps unintentionally, turned his shoulder in towards the officer which blocked his access to any part of her body other than the head. He then seems to try to go for the head, and his hands slipped as others have said. I’m guessing he simply grabbed on because he didn’t want to break contact with her, but I don’t think he set out to grab her hair. I think if the husband hadn’t been holding her up, he probably would not have lost his grip and grabbed her hair.

    And yes, if you hit a cop you will likely be taken down regardless of the situation. They chose not to charge her (or her husband for his interference with the take-down for that matter), which shows the compassion to her situation.

    Just because someone is having a bad day and is panicking, that does not mean one needs white gloves to keep them from endangering themselves or others. One of the techniques taught in water rescue to deal with a panicking swimmer on the surface is to simply punch or elbow them in the face. It’s a lot easier to swim to shore with an unconscious person than someone trying to drag you under. Better to have a broken nose than to drown.

    This woman needed to be restrained for her own safety and for others. The cop did not strike her. He simply attempted to take her down.

  • 1st Due

    Really, she didn’t know who retrained her? Sure she didn’t. In some areas she would have gotten a lot more than her hair pulled after swinging TWICE on a police officer in FRONT of her! Even taking into account she was “looking for her husband” doesn’t excuse what she did & those who are trying to defend her actions, well, your comments say a lot about who you are.Sick & tired of people making excuses for idiots, time people take responsibility for their actions. I have been on many scenes where things were going much worse than a House Fire & never saw reactions like we see these days especially in certain geographic areas where the respect for law & order is zero. Sadly we continue to see the need for more police presence on Emergency scenes because of the actions of bystanders.

  • Randy Brown (FireMedic8)

    So Many things wrong on ALL sides of Perception!!! WOW

    1. The Female swung more-so flailed striking the officer.
    2. The officer in attempt to take her to the ground (per tactics and Training) missed the back of her neck and managed to get the hair.
    4. Husband finally gets control, temporally.
    5. As for the firefighters pushing her away, perfect way to avoid getting hit by a flailing victim.
    6. Comments made in additional videos on how slow SFFD is, Smart ass showing off for his Girlfriend.
    7. In most States the “Victim” can and will USUALLY be perceived to be overly aggressive, out of control and a danger to self and others needing to be restrained and or held back.

    Is there other ways to handle this better??? YES!!!! Is there anything criminal or negligent on the way this was handled???? NO

    The Simple fact remains that ALL Emergency Responders must Protect Self first, People Second, and finally Property Conservation!! And ALWAYS IN THAT ORDER!

    Randy Brown, FF/Paramedic
    Angola Fire Dept. Retired

  • Anonymous

    To slackjawedyokel; A “Public Safety Department”? I hope you’re kidding. Sorry but most in the fire service and even those with a little commons sense would say that Public Safety isn’t spelled P.O.L.I.C.E. Be that as it may, both the Mr.and Mrs. should have been locked up. One for attempted assult and the other for interfering with the officers attempt to “take her down”. The officer showed more “restrainted” than those two jokers by walking away when he did. As far as the criticism from the crowd, “stupid is a stupid does”.

  • Jon


    She appears to have committed “Battery on a peace officer” (That’s the CA term for hitting a cop).

    Given the situation – I doubt that a jury would convict her, but she DOES appear to strike the officer twice in the face. Also, once the officer lays hands on her, the safest thing for him to do, from a liability perspective, is to create a criminal complaint.

  • clay

    Dave, in answer to your question I think the police officer acted out of emotion from being hit. It didn’t appear to be a roundhouse right but a slap, does it make it okay to just slap an officer, no however the woman appeared to be restrained by her husband and being led away from the scene which included the police officer. He appeared pissed off and just let his emotions take over in not wanting to let her get away with the slap. Best option would’ve been she struck the officer therefore it’s battery on a police officer end of story but his retaliation only complicates the situation.
    It’s hard sometimes to not let your emotions get the best of you in a situation but it seems this officer may have an anger issue and his past actions will have a bearing on how this story turns out.
    On a sidenote love the exclusive interview with the homeowner by Jamal “Dan Rather” Mxyz.

    • Sharppointy1

      ^^ Well said.

  • Anonymous

    In response to Mr. Statter,

    “The more relevant questions are did he have to take the action he did and was that the right thing to do?”

    The LEO’s first action was first, to remove her from the firefighters, which was reasonable with a reasonable amount of force. Second was to remove her from the immediate area. As he was moving her back he did nothing remotely out of the norm. I’m sorry for repeating myself, but she did then grab the apparatus and didn’t appear to have any intention of letting go. What is the officer to do at this point? Walk away? Talk it out? No. He grabbed her wrist to break her grip. It was not excessive. Excessive would have been head butting her in the face.

    She then escalated the situation by striking the officer in the face twice. Cal it a slap, flail, punch, whatever; she does not have the right to physically touch someone in that matter. If she does, she has to be willing to accept personal responsibility for her actions.

    Was his response reasonable? Let’s perform a theoretical test. Go up to any similarly trained LEO and slap/punch them in the face. There are no emotions running here from either side. What do think a reasonable response would be? You would be immediately taken to the ground, arrested, charged, and be talking to the judge in the morning. A reasonable response. She received the same.

    He checked his emotions when he allowed Mr. Hayslett to remove her. In our make believe situation above, what would happen to you if you a rational friend tried to pull you away? You would still be hoping your taxpayer provided cell had soap on a rope.

    In my view, he exercised judgement above what would typically happen. We see people get the “wood shampoo” all the time for a lot less than what she did. Did he not pursue her because of his past, the large crowd, or a moment of clarity? We as observers will never know for sure.

    “What is more realistic is to expect police and firefighters to evaluate and act as professionals who check their emotions at the door while dealing with emotional scenes.”

    To quote Mike Tyson “everyone has a plan ’til they get punched in the mouth”. The officer escalated the situation in response to her actions. He did not escalate force beyond that in which he was presented with. I haven’t watched the video in real time but my guess is, that in a split second this was all over. An emotional or unreasonable officer would drop five rounds center of mass. He was attempting to control an out of control (emotional) woman. No more, no less. Reasonably.


    • dave statter


      So you disagree with the retired police officer interviewed and don’t believe any of it was done out of anger? You believe the sole purpose of the officer’s actions was to calm the situation and possibly facilitate an arrest?

      Personally I am much more comfortable when things do work that way and have more confidence in a department (not that my opinion on this matters all that much). I’ve seen ego and anger screw up many a situation like this and leave police departments trying to justify an officer’s actions that are hard to justify.

      I, for one, don’t expect such a confrontation to look like it does in a nice, neat police training video, anymore than I expect to see a perfect fireground on one of the videos I post. But I don’t think it is wrong to expect professionalism that trumps the uncontrolled emotion the civilians brings to the scene.

      I do find it interesting that apparently they didn’t arrest her. I also would still like to know why either the reporter or lieutenant left out the police confronation from the original story. I do want to be clear that in my mind that could just as likely be the reporter failing to mention it as the lieutenant not telling her. I imagine the reporter arrived after that occurred and was relying on others and without the video didn’t think it was an important element.

      Let me bring up one point that some may or may not see as relevant to all of this, but I am going to go there anyway. I read a fair amount of posts on police forums. Often I see justification about questionable actions of officers with phrases like, “you don’t know the stress we are under” and “you don’t know what it’s like to be shot at or see the things we see”. In fact, I have, at times, seen the same excuses used for firefighters.

      So my question to all those who see this as black and white and not gray (you slap a police officer, you get what you deserve type opinions), shouldn’t there be times you cut some slack for civilians who have just been traumatized by either seeing their house destroyed or worried a loved one is inside? If this had been a multiple fatal fire involving that woman’s kids, would your hard and fast judgment on this still be the same?

      It has bee an interesting discussion so far.



      • mark

        So how about we take the officer’s past history out of the equation.

        Was he over the line in his actions?

  • Aardvark

    I look at it as the hair is part of the body. I LOVE when pro football players are tackled by their hair hanging out of their helmet!!! Not a penalty there !!!

    Just shoulda’ let her into the house….she wouldn’t have gotten very far………

  • Anonymous

    No, no, no, no. There is no “why she acted that way”. People think they can follow a code three ambulance “because my mother is in there”. They think they can drive 100 mph to the hospital when their wife is in labor. This is about DRAMA. Some people are drama queens. That is how they excuse aggressive, stupid behavior, and demand to have their way. They don’t want to be accountable for their actions EVER. They always have an excuse why it was someone else’s fault. If you excuse her behavior in ANY WAY, don’t you DARE ever ask what is wrong with our youth and their lack of respect. Maybe you really don’t believe that the firefighters need their PPE at a structure fire, ’cause you don’t need it if you are the homeowner apparently.

    • He

      Anonymous, I Agree 100%. DRAMA QUEEN.
      Dave Statter. I dissected this video frame by frame. I observed the Sergeants facial expressions before, during, and after he was assaulted. The Sergeant and the husband were teaming together to maintain control of the wife. The husband gains control of the wife and the Sergeant stands back, allowing the husband to control his wife. Then the wife strikes the Sergeant , with purpose, and not blindly. I feel at this point the Sergeant decides the wife is not going to be controlled, and attempts to take her in custody. I observe the Sergeant grab the wife’s right arm and attempt to manipulate it into position for handcuff placement. He loses control of the arm and then attempts to place his arm around the right shoulder and continue around the front part of the neck, a textbook operation for taking a subject to the ground in attempt to place restraints. He cannot follow through with this operation as the husband is in between himself and the assailant. His arm slides over the wife’s head and the only thing left to attempt the takedown was grabbing her hair. Using the perps hair as a hold to take them to the ground is an accepted method, do what you need to do. The husband then takes control of his wife and escorts her off the fireground, with the Sergeant observing. The facial expression on the Sergeant as the husband escorts her off the fireground is not anger or rage, actually to me he seems a bit bewildered. This is what is See. And I do think he acted appropriately.

  • slackjawedyokel

    anom -yeah — it was a joke about the public safety- see previous topics — guess I should have inserted one of those cute little smiley faces.
    I guess I am in the minority here, but while I dont believe it taking excessive abuse. I feel as proffesionals , we should be “the bigger man” and take into consideration the emotions.
    I also would be interested in the “opposing sides” telling how long they have been involved in emergency services. It may be my imagintion, but it seems like a lot of people that joined after 911 look at how they interact with the public differently than some of us that were working in the previous era.

  • EastCoastLt.

    He was in a bad mood to begin with cause’ he parked his cruiser in front of the hydrant and the OIC yelled at him to move it in front of all the locals. She was just the “straw that broke the bla bla”

  • Robert Kramer

    Looks to me like she was trying to get away so she could direct some water on to the fire – no o e else was.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Statter,

    Truth be told, I had only watched the first video when I posted my responses. I just went back and watched them all. Of course I believe that it was done out of anger. I don’t know anyone that will take two strikes to the face and not be upset. As far as the armchair quarterback officer that has time to review the tape, sleep on it, and then talk about what “should” be done. Something about hindsight being 20/20 comes to mind. It’s not like a handcuffed man that was not resisting and in a prone position being shot in the back. I believe that was in California as well. That’s easy to say after the fact that “it should have been handled differently”.

    She was doing to big no no’s in the police world. 1) She was not complying with his wishes. 2) She struck him. Now let me back up. Mrs. Hayslett was in a highly charged state and pulled away from the firefighters from behind. In fairness to her, I admit that I might resist as well. But the instant I realized that it was an LEO the game changes. Even in time of duress, it is not okay to hit a police officer. We can go back and forth with examples all day but we’ve both made our point.

    The game can be played from both sides. Both participants made snap judgements and reactions. Where Mrs. Hayslett loses me for sure, is hit number two. He is clearly recognizable as an LEO. She had enough time to swing, recoil, and swing again. Nowhere in any OHR manual would it state that accepting blows to the face is acting “professionally”.

    It’s also easy for many of us to not understand the thought (or lack of) process of a hysterical civilian. We are trained to focus through chaos. Emergencies become our normal routine and it is easy to lose sight of that. I still believe the officer acted appropriately and Mrs. Hayslett is lucky she was not incarcerated. And yes, this has been an interesting forum.


    • dave statter


      I am just asking the questions I always ask when I look at these. As far as I am concerned it’s a given that you should not hit a police officer and the actions of the woman were wrong. I don’t see that as up for debate.

      I thank you for looking at the questions I asked and evaluating how it fits in with your view of things.

      Always appreciate the input.


  • Professional Courtesy Acceptance?

    I knew I would’nt need to scroll down far before some knuckleheads turned this into a race/political issue. Black vs White, Obama vs Romney, “go back to their homeland”, ect., etc.

    The officer clearly acted out of emotion just as the homeowner was acting out of emotion. He was out of line. Grabbing her by her hair and trying to drag her down to the pavement was more than enough force to get his point across.

    Following the couple down the street with his chest puffed out was nothing but intimidation and bully boy tactics.

    And on another note, for all of you, “the law is the law, no ifs, ands or buts about it” folks out there – I wonder how many of you have gotten out of speeding tickets or any other sort of offense because of your union sticker or FD ID. I’d bet that you accepted the officer’s ‘professional courtesy’ then and didn’t argue the point of “the law is the law”.

    It’s nice when it works out for you, huh?

    This officer’s behavior is not an exception but the norm.

  • Art of Fire

    As a former LEO, one thing I was always taught was that if you put your hands on someone, they go to jail. The only thing that bothers me about the video is that she is allowed to be taken away by her husband, and not in handcuffs by the police.

  • Agates1272

    What REALLY bothers me about this whole incident is the fact that this emotionally distrught (with good reason) woman got to hit a cop in the face TWICE without any consequence, yet she is now suing because her hair got pulled? After setting everything else aside, NO ONE else sees the audacity of this???

    Regardless of what any of the previous posters want to argue, the LEO showed a great amount of campassion to this woman by allowing her two free shots to the face, and then allowing her to be escorted off the scene by her husband. No handcuffs, no charges filed, no nothing. But in the end, the LEO is the one who gets screwed. WHAT A TRAVESTY.

  • jon

    Another video of a woman swinging on a police officer…..unbelievable….not.

    This kinda deplorable behavior is happening everyday now….its not a new phenomenon.Something is wrong with our culture.