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Woman Alleges Deputy Yanked Her Out Of Her Car During Traffic Stop In Lakeside

A San Diego County Sheriff's Department vehicle is parked in this undated photo.
Alexander Nguyen
A San Diego County Sheriff's Department vehicle is parked in this undated photo.

A woman lodged a complaint against the county Sheriff's Department, alleging that a deputy used excessive force when he yanked her out of her car, pulling her hair and arm, during a traffic stop in Lakeside last week, it was reported Tuesday.

The woman, Shynita Phillips Abu, said she had been "jamming to music" in her car after a trip to a Post Office when the deputy began following her just before 4 p.m. Thursday, the San Diego Union Tribune reported. The deputy pulled her over on state Route 67, telling her that her car's third brake light was not working.

Sheriff's Department spokesman Ricardo Lopez confirmed to the Union-Tribune that was the reason for the stop.

At a news conference outside the Sheriff's Department on Monday, Abu, who is Black, disputed the reason for the traffic stop, saying the light was working when she picked up her car from an impound lot, according to the newspaper.

Abu said the deputy became "belligerent" after she started recording the encounter on her cellphone for her safety. She said the deputy ordered her to "get the (expletive) out of the car." She asked him to call his supervisor, the Union-Tribune reported.

Lopez told the newspaper that Abu refused to provide her driver's license or identify herself to the deputy.

The deputy detained her on suspicion of resisting arrest and refusing to sign a citation, according to Lopez.

Abu said the deputy tried to book her into the Las Colinas Detention Facility in Santee, but ultimately released her from custody about six hours later when he dropped her off at a trolley station, the Union-Tribune reported.

Lopez told the newspaper Abu was not jailed "because of COVID-19 booking restrictions."

A "certificate of release" reviewed by The San Diego Union-Tribune shows a deputy "whose signature is not legible" had indicated there were insufficient grounds for booking charges.

"It was uncalled for, it was abuse of power (and) it was racially (motivated)," Abu said.

Abu and others at the news conference Monday said they want the deputy to be placed on administrative leave until the Sheriff's Department investigates the complaint. They also called on the department to release any video of the encounter from the deputy's body-worn camera, the Union-Tribune reported.

The deputy remained assigned to the sheriff's Lakeside substation as of Monday.

"We are aware of the allegations and are looking into the matter," Lopez told the Union-Tribune.