The Tampa Police Department was sued by a Tampa woman who alleges that a police officer slammed her head into the pavement in a 2014 incident, causing a serious brain injury.
According to the complaint filed in federal court, Rachel Stockwell, then a student at the University of Tampa, had to leave school due to facial paralysis and cognitive defects. The complaint states that in video of the incident, a pool of blood can be seen surrounding Stockwell’s head.
The officer, Antwan S. Nelson, had his employment terminated, according to Laura McElroy, a police spokeswoman.
The incident took place on Valentine’s Day, 2014, outside Club 912 on Franklin Street in downtown Tampa. According to a police internal affairs report, Nelson used a “takedown” maneuver on Stockwell. Nelson told investigators that he had attempted to issue a trespass warning to Stockwell, but she refused to identify herself and resisted arrest. Nelson said he took the woman to the ground in order to gain better control. The investigation stopped short of calling the amount of force used excessive.
According to the internal affairs investigation, Stockwell, then 18, had been admitted to the club but was not legally permitted to drink. The report said she had previously been escorted from the premises, but had returned.
She was booked on charges of opposing an officer and criminal mischief, but the State Attorney’s Office did not prosecute.