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Woman claims Mesa police used excessive force during DUI arrest

Posted at 10:12 PM, Sep 20, 2018

A Valley police department is once again facing allegations of excessive force after arresting a woman late last year. 

32-year-old Antoya Polk was arrested by Mesa police in December 2017 as part of an East Valley DUI Task Force initiative in the area of Broadway Road and Roosevelt Street in Tempe.  

Polk said she was driving with a friend when she was pulled over because a tail light was out. From there, officers said they smelled marijuana in the vehicle.  

According to Mesa Police, Polk was also showing signs of intoxication. 

A breathalyzer test showed her BAC was a .15, according to Mesa Police, which is nearly double the legal limit. 

Mesa Police officers wanted to take a sample of Polk's blood, but she refused. After police secured a warrant, Polk still refused, and that's when the scuffle broke out which is seen on Mesa Police body camera. 

RELATED: Religious leaders list demands for Mesa police following excessive force report

"I had no way to move," explained Polk. "They were all on top of me...If I would have known it would have turned out like this, I would have accepted that poke that day." 

Polk said she is scared of needles and tried explaining that to officers. Instead, officers pulled her to the ground, and someone pokes her with the needle to get her blood. 

Police say it's during this scuffle that Polk kicks one officer and bites another. 

But, that's a claim Polk denies. 

"I never intentionally hit anyone, kicked anyone, touched anyone; I didn't do anything," Polk said.

Instead, Polk says she's the victim in all of this. 

"It's men. Five men on top of me. I'm a woman. You know what I mean? They're assaulting me and then try to turn it around and say I assaulted them? It's like they beat me up twice."

ABC15 reached out to Mesa Police for an interview. They declined, but we were provided this statement:  
On 12/29/17 at 11:20 pm as part of the East Valley Holiday DUI Task Force, officers observed a van with only one headlamp driving in the area of Broadway and Roosevelt in Tempe. Officers initiated a traffic stop and identified the driver as Antoya Polk.
Ms. Polk displayed signs of impairment to include red bloodshot, watery eyes, moderate odor of alcoholic beverage and sluggish movements. Although Ms. Polk stated that she did not possess a medical marijuana card or used marijuana, the officers reported a heavy odor of marijuana on Ms. Polk's person.
Ms. Polk voluntarily consented to field sobriety tests and showed signs of impairment.  Ms. Polk also provided a breath sample that showed a breath alcohol reading of .15% the legal limit is .08%.  Following the initial examination and reading of her Miranda Rights, Ms. Polk was arrested for DUI at 11:43 PM.
At 11:46 PM, Ms. Polk was provided with the Admin Per Se/Implied Consent, the State law that requires all Arizona drivers to submit to testing after being placed under arrest for DUI.  Ms. Polk adamantly stated she would refuse to submit to the blood test. The Admin per se was read to Ms. Polk multiple times; however, she continually interrupted and stated she would not provide a sample of her blood. Between 12:00 AM and 12:30 AM she was provided a phone to seek legal assistance.
Almost one hour later, at 12:50 AM Ms. Polk was served with a valid search warrant, signed by a judge, for her blood. Although notified several times that a legal search warrant for her blood was obtained, Ms. Polk said she would not submit to the blood draw.
Given the argumentative nature of Ms. Polk, she was placed on the ground and detained while a phlebotomist obtained the blood sample. Given that medical
personnel is dealing with a sharp needle, the officers took precautions to prevent Ms. Polk, the medical personnel and the officers from an injury.
During the service of the search warrant, Ms. Polk kicked one officer, in addition, Ms. Polk bit and scratched another officer. That night, Ms. Polk was charged with aggravated assault on law enforcement, and failure to comply with a court order.
Formal charges of DUI, possession of marijuana and aggravated assault were submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office for review.

The video circulating on social media does not show the full context of this incident. Ms. Polk was under arrest at the time and was refusing a valid search warrant for the DUI investigation to proceed. 
Ms. Polk submitted an online complaint to the Mesa Police Department stemming from this incident on 9/12/18; the video depicting a portion of this case was released via YouTube on 9/13/18.
As in all matters that are brought to the attention of the Mesa Police Department, this incident will be fully reviewed by the Office of Professional Standards.