(KMOV.com) - Maplewood police officers are responding to claims of police brutality from a University City woman who is accused of trying to bite and kick police.
Dacia Polk was in the parking lot of Maplewood Commons with another man when police responded to a complaint that a man flourished a gun at a couple with a baby over a parking spot. When officers arrived at the scene, they found Polk in the car, and asked her to get out.
“It felt intimidating. I felt safe knowing that I could at least ask why I need to step out of my vehicle,” said Polk. "The first officer put me in a choke hold and once I began shouting for help, the other officer grabbed me underneath my jaw trying to silence me,” Polk said.
Polk has been charged with resisting arrest.
“She completely ignored the officers,” said Detective Sergeant Matthew Nighbor with the Maplewood Police Department. “(Officers) noticed an empty holster in the vehicle and fearing for their safety they thought the firearm may still be inside with the person in the vehicle,” Nighbor said.
Police said officers made multiple attempts to reason with Polk, but she didn’t stop putting up a fight. Polk was then subdued by a Taser.
A gun was found on the man Polk was with, who was also arrested. Polk adamantly denies trying to kick or bite officers.
“I never had the opportunity to even think to do something like that,” she says.
Polk’s attorney claims the officers used excessive, brutal force.
"We're concerned about the way police are making these arrests and they're becoming more and more routine for African Americans and people of color,” said attorney Randall C. Cahill.
Police officials deny race played a factor in her arrest.
“Absolutely not. Officers were out there for a report of flourishing a firearm, and a firearm was recovered,” Nighbor said.
Nighbor said police officials, including the chief, reviewed the case and found officers responded appropriately to the incident.
Polk and her attorney said they may pursue legal action against the Maplewood Police Department, depending on the outcome of the pending charges.