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Police Sergeant Seen Pulling Woman by Hair Is Subject of Internal Probe

Nestor victim says she’s in the process of hiring an attorney after incident at her burning home.

Updated at 7 p.m. Oct. 20, 2012

A San Diego police sergeant shown pulling a distraught woman by the hair at a fire scene is the subject of an internal police probe, authorities said Saturday. He also may be sued, the victim told U-T San Diego.

“Due to allegations arising from this incident, we are conducting an internal investigation into the matter,” said Lt. Andra Brown, a police spokeswoman. “Because it is a personnel matter, we are not able to make any further comment.”

Video taken at a fire scene Friday on Ilex Avenue in Nestor showed police Sgt. Dan McLaughlin struggling with a woman, later identified as Torazzi Hayslett, outside her burning home and dragging her by the hair as she tried to get closer.

Hayslett ran screaming toward the structure, and firefighters and San Diego police officers struggled to restrain her, the Patch video shows. The video has been shown on local television as well.

While being carried away from the scene, Torazzi grabbed part of a fire truck.

Husband Alex Hayslett was pulling her away when McLaughlin forcibly took her hand from the truck, and she swung at the officer’s face.
 He reacted by dragging her by the hair, video shows.

At one point, the officer reached over Alex to grab Torazzi by the hair.

Minutes later, Torazzi Hayslett was in handcuffs, dismaying a crowd of more than 50 onlookers and neighbors.

“Put yourself in her shoes,” said Frank Rodriguez, who watched from the sidewalk. “I think it’s wrong. How would you feel if your house was burning? And she’s seeing that, and then she tries to get closer to see and then the cops. ... Come on, man.”

Torazzi, a 32-year-old second-grade teacher at Nubia Leadership Academy, a charter school in Encanto, left the scene before speaking with IB Patch.

This apparently is not the first time Sgt. McLaughlin has gotten into a scuffle with members of the public.

In May 2011, a San Diego Superior Court civil jury found McLaughlin used unreasonable force in a violent confrontation with a homeless advocate named John David Ross, also known as the “Water Man.”

Ross was awarded $2,925 for medical costs, according to U-T San Diego.

Ross, who was 74 at the time of the March 2009 incident, testified that he was distributing water from the back of his vehicle “when McLaughlin pulled up and told the crowd to disperse. The officer then threw one of the homeless men, Myron Hill, against a wall,” according to U-T San Diego.

“When Ross asked what was happening, the officer twisted Ross’ arm and tossed him to the ground. Ross said he suffered a concussion and exacerbated an old injury to his right shoulder,” the U-T said.

Ross and two homeless men with him claimed that McLaughlin and another officer committed battery, civil rights violations and false imprisonment.

In Friday’s incident, Sgt. Hernandez, who declined to give his first name, said he did not witness the fight and was unable to comment, but said Torazzi was detained and later released.

San Diego Fire-Rescue received a call about the house fire in the 2000 block of Ilex Avenue in San Diego, blocks outside of Imperial Beach, shortly before 5 p.m., said Batallion Chief Alfredo Duron.

“We suspect it started in the garage and then spread into the home and eventually the second floor,” Duron said who noted an investigation will also take place.

Imperial Beach and San Diego Fire-Rescue units responded to the call with four engines and one ladder truck. It took crews about 20 minutes to subdue the flames, a dispatcher said.

U-T San Diego reported Saturday night that Hayslett is in the process of hiring an attorney. She told the paper she thinks the officer overreacted.

“My husband had me the whole time,” she was quoted as saying. “I’m like 110 pounds on a good day.”

Fire officials estimated the damage at $400,000 but did not determine the cause of the blaze, which apparently started in the garage and extended into the second floor.

 “It’s just a hard time,” Hayslett told the U-T. “I am just trying to get some clothes on my baby’s back and trying to figure out where we are staying the night.”

Did the officer use excessive force or was he just trying to do his job? Share in comments.

 —City News Service contributed to this report.

People Actin' a Fool October 26, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Ok, had a chance to watch this video again in more detail. Wow, I'm even more convinced that some of you all are nuts. Most egregiously, several people keep mentioning the officer went over to her in some sort of state of rage. My good lord. Are you serious? Some people mentioned that the firefighters already were "holding her back" and had her under control so why did the officer have to intervene?" Holy s**t. I'm speechless. Seriously? The policeman ran over to take her off their hands because one of his primary duties is oh, let's see.. CROWD CONTROL! He could see she was preventing, in a potentially dangerous way, a few firefighters from doing their primary duty which is, oh, let's see.. FIRE CONTROL! And Alexpinca, you my friend are especially "challenged". You keep mentioning that "why did the officer have to intervene since the husband already had her". Holy bats**t. The officer got her away from the IMMEDIATE scene by dragging her away from WORKING FIREFIGHTERS. continued...
People Actin' a Fool October 26, 2012 at 01:15 AM
continued... The "husband" wasn't even there when the officer first gets to her. Then, he clearly "relinquishes" her to her husband (assuming he knew this.. how would he? He's just some random guy who walked up to the scene) near the firetruck. I can't make out exactly what he says but my assumption is the husband identified himself at some point and the officer says "get her out of here or is she with you?" He lets her go but the husband can't carry her away b/c she's clinging on to that bar. The officer pries her hand from it, as he should. Then she proceeds to slap the officer, or tries to, repeatedly. Your assuming for the officer about what was going through his head, about "ego saving" is, well, logic from a dullard. Don't try to assume anyone's "feelings" here. Judge by ACTIONS. Up until now, did any of the officer's actions cross any lines? If you (I mean anyone) says yes to this, you need to go back to high school civics class.. Ok, after the slaps, what did he do? His intention by the hair pull was to get her to the ground and handcuff her. And I totally admit, his blood was running at this point.. as it should be! I'm not sure what you mean by all your semantic "professionalism", but this officer DID act with professionalism. She escalated the situation from a 1 to a 10 by repeatedly STRIKING AN OFFICER and he responded with measured force.
alexpinca October 26, 2012 at 01:26 AM
What is scary to me is that people are capable of seeing what THEY WANT TO SEE. Yes, Mr. People Actin' a Fool...YOU ARE SEEING WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE. I downloaded the video and have seen it in slow motion many times. YOU ARE SEEING WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
alexpinca October 26, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Screw you Sean...after many posts and finding that there were so many people supporting the cop, I decided to take an even closer view of the video. I downloaded the video which allowed me to see it frame by frame. I'VE GOT NO GAWD DAMN APOLOGY FOR ANYTHING I'VE SAID...THIS COP WAS OUT OF CONTROL AND SHOULD GET BUSTED!!!.
alexpinca October 26, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Screw you Sean...after many posts and finding that there were so many people supporting the cop, I decided to take an even closer view of the video. I downloaded the video which allowed me to see it frame by frame. I'VE GOT NO GAWD DAMN APOLOGY FOR ANYTHING I'VE SAID...THIS COP WAS OUT OF CONTROL AND SHOULD GET BUSTED!!!.
alexpinca October 26, 2012 at 01:45 AM
I began to doubt my conclusions so I downloaded the video. After downloading this video and watching it frame by frame, all those who took me on this issue can kiss my posterior. And Mary, that is the "adult me" saying that. Sincerely Alex
Mary October 26, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Alexpinca - Are you related to Torazzi Hayslett? You got gypped on all your supposed college degrees because you obviously didn't learn how to THINK objectively.
alexpinca October 26, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Mary, I suppose you have a choice set of words for anyone who disagrees with you...if you really cared, you would have noticed that I said I saw the damn thing frame by frame...and this is what I saw...before she ever hit the cop, the husband was already pulling her away...the sob reached over the husband and smacked her...it was then that she retaliated and hit him....NOW IF THAT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU, TOO FRIGGIN BAD...AND I DON'T GIVE A RATS POSTERIOR WHETHER YOU'RE IMPRESSED WITH MY EDUCATION OR NOT! I SUSPECT THAT IT IS FAR MORE EXTENSIVE THAN YOURS....IT JUST DIDN'T INCLUDE RIGHT WING FASCISM 101.
People Actin' a Fool October 26, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Alexpinca, what part of my detailed description of events are you disagreeing with?... other than your opinion that the officer should have completely refrained and done nothing after having been slapped several times. Here, I agree with you... there is no amount of conversation or reasonable discussion that will ever dissuade you from your opinion. It's just that, if that's your bar for what you consider "police brutality", then it is impossible for any police force to do its job. In what world can police function without appropriate use of force when necessary. Just read this next line again... SHE WAS SLAPPING A POLICE OFFICER who was doing NOTHING TO HER except removing her from a scene in which she was endangering herself and others. If you're throwing this case in generally with others you've seen (experienced?), that is unfair and deep down, I think you know it. Pride comes before the fall. There are tons of examples of wanton disproportionate use of force where the officers were CLEARLY wrong.. here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpIaKctEMTU, here.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaxOZT-Mz6E&feature=fvwrel.. here.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU5fAGOVvEM&feature=related. Now, how exactly does this SLAPPED officer who responded by pulling the woman's hair to control her to the ground constitute "brutality"?? If you continue with your position that he should have done NOTHING, you simply don't understand proper/legal/measured law enforcement.
alexpinca October 26, 2012 at 02:28 AM
After seeing your post, I again for about the 10th time watched this video...again frame by frame...I'm not going to be able to convince those who want to side with the cop...that they are wrong, I can only hope that the investigation reviews it thoroughly. I just get angrier every time I see it...you are entitled to see it your way.
PwmCwzy October 26, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Alexpinca - If the husband had control of her, how was she able to continue to slap/hit the officer? Get real! Your nonsense has become comical. Take a pill and get some rest.
alexpinca October 26, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Alexpinca - If the husband had control of her, how was she able to continue to slap/hit the officer? Get real! Your nonsense has become comical. Take a pill and get some rest. *************************************** Have you had the opportunity to seen the video frame by frame? I have...and what I see as the beginning is the husband getting between the officer and his wife and he is beginning to push her way when the officer reaches over and strikes her...that is when she retalitates....NOW WISE ASS...IF IT IS GAWD DAMN COMICAL WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT YOU THAT YOU'RE WASTING YOUR TIME WITH IT.
PwmCwzy October 26, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Alex - Because I don't like to see ignorant people with no common sense be the last post. Someone might think we agreed with you.
alexpinca October 26, 2012 at 03:29 AM
My mistake AH...click by click!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
alexpinca October 26, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Alex - Because I don't like to see ignorant people with no common sense be the last post. Someone might think we agreed with you. ************************************ You want to know what is comical....you talking about ignorant people!
People Actin' a Fool October 26, 2012 at 03:52 AM
Alexpinca, whoaa.. you actually are defensible now because you are all amped up about this on MISTAKEN facts. Here is your reply copy/pasted from above. Alexpinca -"Have you had the opportunity to seen the video frame by frame? I have...and what I see as the beginning is the husband getting between the officer and his wife and he is beginning to push her way when the officer reaches over and strikes her...that is when she retalitates" Did you really watch this frame by frame? If so, you first stop tomorrow should be to Lenscrafters. What you're seeing as having "smacked" her was him forcibly prying her hand off that rail to get her out of there. If you don't believe me, look at this interview here http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_c2#/video/us/2012/10/23/police-restrain-woman-by-hair.kgtv. Of course, there is no mention/allegation of being "smacked".. because it didn't happen! From the CNN interview, I absolutely believe her that she is in a state of blind rage and didn't know it was an officer who was pulling her away. 2 things, I believe her AND.. it's totally irrelevant. We're not judging her ACTIONS here. Those are undisputed.. she was behaving like a lunatic. Like I mentioned before, judge HIS actions. Here's my question for you Alexpinca (and others), if you now stipulate to your mistaken assumption that she was EVER smacked, do you now admit that an officer being stricken was within his rights to subdue the attacker? If not, you're beyond reasoning with.
Komfort October 26, 2012 at 04:00 AM
"AH" must be a HR term.
Krisanne October 26, 2012 at 05:07 AM
First of all the officer looks like a bull rushing her from the sidewalk actually removing her off her feet. After he forcefully yanks her hand from the handle of the firetruck she seems to become angry, Her attempted slaps appear to not event touch the officer, yet he decides to jump over the man to get to her and beat her down! Was she right in swinging at the officer, no. Did he use excessive force yes. No real argument here.
People Actin' a Fool October 26, 2012 at 05:47 AM
Krisanne, lord have mercy. Like a "bull rushing"? Are you serious? The officer notices firefighters dealing with a crazy/emotional woman and immediately knows that's not the job they're supposed to be doing and that the woman is NOT supposed to be that close to the scene, getting in the way of/tustling with the firefighters. So the dude JOGS over briskly. Bull rush? For the love of effing... But your piece de resistance is in your logic of "her attempted slaps appear to not event touch the officer". So your logic is that you can swing at a police officer freely.. and if you don't make contact (which she does slightly), then he/she doesn't have any right to subdue you. Holy s**t girlfriend, go back and get that GED for the love of god. Better yet, next time you get your drink on.. try going up to a police officer and taking a few air-swipes without "event touching the officer".. and see how that's gonna work for you. "No real argument here"? Really? Alexpinca, you're off the hook. Krisanne is the new undisputed champeen of dumb in these here parts. And by the by, the woman's defense for her actions (swinging like she was on Jerry Springer) in the CNN interview is that due to her emotions, she was just swinging at wildly.. and didn't know it was an officer. Riiiigggttt... meaning, it would be ok if it wasn't an officer.. just a person trying like her husband to get her out of there. Is it just me or.. shouldn't this woman be APOLOGIZING for her behavior?
alexpinca October 26, 2012 at 05:51 AM
Krisanne, give it up, I've been trying to get these neanderthals to listen to reason with no luck...what you described is exactly what I saw and I had the advantage being able to slow motion through the whole...that guy was way out of line but you will never convince these people...lets just hope none of them are ever in a similar situation...some people just don't give a (u know what) as long as it not them getting manhandled.
People Actin' a Fool October 26, 2012 at 06:03 AM
On a more sobering note.. I'm not even some big defender of police officers. But I grew up in a time where you learned to respect police officers.. not fear or loathe or even like them.. but respect them. Respect them in the sense that if you got pulled over, hands at 10 and 2.. "Sir, I'm just reaching to get my wallet".. that kind of thing... let them know you're not any threat. It's beyond common sense to know how far a little mutual respect goes. Are there bad apples? Oh, hell yeah. Are there those who abuse their power. Too many caught you on camera moments to count. Racist, thuggish or even criminal police.. check, check, check. But let's please agree that they are the small minority. But what is disconcerting is instances like this where to a lot of us, we can soberly judge the situation, the players involved and come away with a rational take on things. What I DO have to give police officers new-found respect and credit for is realizing that they have to navigate their jobs with people who think like a lot of people on this board.. and holy s**t.. I seriously don't know how they do it sometimes.
Ed Sorrels October 26, 2012 at 06:08 AM
As I have said before and will say again, If you havn't been trained in crowd or prisnone control you don't know what you are talking about, The standard is Exert contreol till you achieve compliance, Then no more, Had it been me I think I would have tased her early on and avoided the struggle and disruption to the firefighters trying to do their job's, And she might have learned a lesson about when to and not to interfer with emergency personel doing their job's !
People Actin' a Fool October 26, 2012 at 08:47 AM
Alexpinca, I don't know if you've had a chance to see my observation about your mistaken assumption.. but please respond if you will to the following: 1) Among all the "brutal" ways you think this woman was wronged, the CENTRAL point of your brutality theory seems to be that the officer "strikes" the woman for no reason. You clearly believe this.. I quoted you on it earlier. 2) To PROVE that there was no strike, I directed you to the woman herself talking about the incident. Again, http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_c2#/video/us/2012/10/23/police-restrain-woman-by-hair.kgtv. OBVIOUSLY, if there had been any hitting, it would be the FIRST thing they talked about. It would be the CENTRAL claim in their grievance. There was no such complaint b/c there was no such strike. This is only logical, yes? What you seem to view as a "strike" was a forcible removing of her hand from that bar. The first time I saw the video, I NEVER saw a strike but you've seen it dozens of times.. but conclude EVERY TIME he hit her. Um, are you sure it's US who're seeing things the way we want? 3) Ok, if you'll stipulate that there was no striking.. Do you STILL consider this a case of police brutality? If he NEVER struck her, he still doesn't have the right to subdue her? I await your answer. I ask the question logically and respectfully. Go through the logic and let us know. Whatever the reply.. will speak volumes.
BridgetBurns October 26, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Do you really think Alex could be logical? I don't.
Vinny Mao October 29, 2012 at 07:54 PM
I can't believe what I'm reading on this thread, it seems like the two sides are watching different videos. While I don't condone inappropriate uses of force by police officers, this case was not inappropriate. First the cop pulled the women away from the firefighters with the appropriate use of force until the husband took over, at which point the officer seemed to back off. This is until he was hit by the women and he engaged again. For those who say she was already restrained by her husband have no argument because if she were restrained, then the officer wouldn't have been hit by the women. I understand her emotions can be overly expressed in a time when her life is being up in flames, but you have to be responsible for your actions. Plain and simple she hit a police officer and the consequences were that she was being attempted to be restrained. It was right for her not to be arrested for her actions, but it is also right for the cop to not be punished for doing his job.
charles Barker December 23, 2012 at 01:19 AM
charles scott the lady had three(3) fire fighter speak for her., the cop (0).... Don't worry you won't be on the jury.. a judge has the final say.
Komfort December 23, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Now you tell us...
Jeff January 06, 2013 at 04:27 AM
He pulled her away so the firefighters could do their job. Then she hits him in the face a couple of times. That is a assualt on a police officer.
Nicktavius March 06, 2013 at 07:02 PM
I see both sides of the story. The police officer did his job and removed her from the scene, but she did slap him and was wrong for that. I also think that the police officer reacted with anger instead of responding with logic. She dd strike him first, but he could have let her husband calm her down and arrested her or cited her after she calmed down. I dont think she was going anywhere. Either way they were both wrong, but a professional should have handled the situation better.
Russell Ward June 15, 2013 at 12:49 PM
I just witnessed an Imperial Beach Officer attack a pinned 50-51 victim. Officers responded and victim had not yet taken his med. Took his meds in front of officers, they said they had to take him to CMH anyway for eval. He ran. 3 officers had him pinned to the ground when another officer got on his back and started multi-punching his face. He got an arm lose and tried to stop the officer from punching him, tearing his shirt. Of course, they now allege he assaulted the officer. A witness was telling another officer that she had seen him imoblie when they officer started punching him in the face. She was asked if she was legally in the United States, and decided to leave. I was blocked by officers from aproaching her for her number and name.

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