An investigation is underway following an incident that occurred between a police officer and a woman during a motor vehicle stop Thursday, September 6, according to a statement provided by the Goodyear Police Department.
The incident, which occurred near the northwest corner of Van Buren Street and Dysart Road at 11:48 a.m., was prompted after the woman allegedly resisted arrest when the officer discovered she had a suspended driver’s license, according to the statement.
The suspect, confirmed the following day to be Renee Armenta, 38, of Avondale, was charged with two counts of resisting arrest, driving on a suspended license, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Armenta’s passenger, John Charlie Moreno Aguilar, 27, of Phoenix, was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
Video footage of the altercation, shot by a bystander from a nearby vehicle, gained attention on social media shortly after it occurred. In the video, the officer appears to punch Armenta in the face, after which he pulls her from the car and drags her across the ground. He then unholsters his weapon and points it nearby, though the focus of his attention appears to be off camera.
As of print time, one copy of the video had amassed over 3 million views, nearly 80,000 retweets and nearly 80,000 likes on Twitter.
“When a conflict with a suspect occurs during an arrest, this presents a challenging and often dangerous situation for the arresting officer,” according to the statement. “The top priority of the Goodyear Police Department is the safety of the public as well as our officers. When a situation such as this occurs, it can appear frightening to passersby who don’t understand the full context of the situation.”
Body cam footage is being reviewed and interviews conducted to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident “in the interest of transparency and maintaining the trust of our public,” the statement continued.
“Once our investigation is complete and all the facts are in, we will be better able to provide accurate information as to the details of this arrest,” the statement continued.
A follow-up statement revealed the case had been forwarded to the Surprise Police Department.
“It is unclear how long this investigation will take and we appreciate the patience of the public as we all await the findings,” according to the second statement.
Armenta and Aguilar were booked into the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail. The officer’s identity will not be released until the conclusion of the investigation, Goodyear Police spokeswoman Lisa Berry said.