A Washington woman who suffers from cognitive and hearing disabilities says she was the victim of police brutality during a recent traffic stop which resulted in her arrest on a felony assault charge.
Megan Graham, 36, of Kirkland, told KIRO 7 she was pulled over last week for using her cellphone while driving, but as soon as she stepped out of her car things escalated quickly.
She claims she told the police officer, Justin Antholt, that she was going to take her dog to a friend's apartment and invited him to walk with her, but due to her hearing impairment was unable to hear Antholt's request to step back in her car over the din of his cruiser's running engine.
That's when Graham says the Antholt "lunged and grabbed her wrist," leading her to believe she was being attacked.
She attempted to explain her disabilities to the officer, but says he refused to listen. So Graham called 911 in the hopes that "other officers would show up to listen and deescalate the situation."
Another officer did show up — to help Antholt arrest Graham.
According to Graham, that officer, Ashley Crispin, punched her several times in the face while ordering her to stop resisting.
Graham explained to KIRO that she wasn't resisting, but was merely trying to flip over when the officer put weigh on her injured hip.
A friend, Deborah Fenwick, backs up Graham's claim that she was not resisting.
The police, meanwhile, have a different version of events.
According to Officer Antholt's report, Graham "bladed her feet and balled her fists in a fighter’s stance" before attempting to strike Officer Crispin, causing him to respond "with closed fist strikes to Graham's face" in order to bring her down.
Federal Way police say they are reviewing the incident, but Graham's felony assault charge still stands. She is due in court on June 10th at 9 AM.
[photos via Megan Graham, audio via Federal Way Mirror]