NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A woman from Emporia, who was pulled over for a traffic stop during the July 4th weekend, says she was punched by a police officer and pulled out of her car.
Ebony Holmes, 24, appeared at a press conference Tuesday afternoon with her attorney and other supporters. Enlarged photos of Holmes with a swollen lip and bruises were on display.
Holmes was stopped by Norfolk Officer Vincent Tocco in the early morning hours of July 5 near the intersection of Chesapeake Boulevard and Tallwood Street. She had three friends riding with her.
Video recorded by one of the passengers shows Tocco opening the car door and then striking Holmes in the face and pulling her from the car.
Holmes’ attorney, Amina Matheny-Willard, narrated the video and saying “that was [Tocco] going in the vehicle, and when he punched [Holmes] in the face, she automatically tasted blood.”
Norfolk police provided this statement in response to the claims of brutality:
“The Norfolk Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards is continuing to thoroughly investigate the actions of the involved officers in accordance with departmental policies and procedures.
“Around 1:15 a.m. on July 5, 2021, Officers conducted a traffic stop after observing a car driving recklessly through the 1100 block of Tallwood Street. The driver, identified as Ebony R. Holmes, 24, of Emporia, was arrested and charged with reckless driving and obstruction of justice.”
“During the start of this traffic stop, Miss Holmes’ friends were at times a little loud and a little rowdy, and questioning what was going on by the police,” said civil rights advocate Brandon Randleman, one of Holmes’ supporters.
Holmes says she was struck again, while she was on the ground in a fetal position.
“[Tocco] was pressing all of his weight on her, at the moment that she says ‘You’re trying to kill me,'” Matheny-Willard said.
Holmes doesn’t deny she was speeding. Since the incident, she has lost her job and has begun mental health counseling.
“It has messed me up. I know it has messed me up, because I started thinking myself and believing did I deserve it?” she said.
BELOW: Watch video taken during the traffic stop. Footage has been muted due to profanity.
Her supporters want all the body camera video from the traffic stop.
“Specifically from Officer Tocco, but there were six or seven officers out there, so there’s got to be a lot of footage,” Randleman said.
Matheny-Willard says she confirmed with Norfolk Police Monday that Tocco remained on active duty as an officer. Holmes and her attorney want Tocco to be suspended without pay during the department’s investigation.
Matheny-Willard says she tried to get a magistrate to file assault charges against the officer, but the magistrate eventually decided there wasn’t enough probable cause.
Holmes has a hearing in November on the charges.
** Correction: This article initially reported that Officer Tocco was suspended with pay. 10 On Your Side has confirmed the officer remains on active duty.