OLYMPIA, Wash — A Black woman arrested in Olympia during a George Floyd protest in May said a police officer threatened to use her knee to detain the woman.
That is similar to how Floyd died while being arrested by a Minneapolis police officer in May. Floyd had been held in place for more than eight minutes by an officer’s knee on his neck.
“I had just gotten done chanting ‘I can’t breathe,’ in reference to George’s last words,” Brianna Woodson said. "I was scared for my life."
Woodson said the incident happened on the evening of May 31 while she was being arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct during the protest.
Woodson said she did not do anything wrong and was walking away from the protest when officers took her into custody. Woodson was booked into the city jail but has not been charged with any crime.
She said the comment happened while Woodson was surrounded by four Olympia Police Department officers, including a female corrections officer who primarily works in the city jail.
"I remember facing the van and I was completely quiet and she just said, 'I could put my knee on her' and no one said anything," said Woodson who filed a complaint.
In a written statement, Olympia Police Interim Chief Aaron Jelcick said the complaint is of “high importance.”
“The complainant alleged the staff member made a comment that was unacceptable, offensive, and violated department policy," Jelcick said in the statement. "The Olympia Police Department will not tolerate conduct that does not promote treating all people with dignity and respect, nor will we allow actions that harm the trust this community has in the Olympia Police Department.”
According to a police department spokesperson, it is not known when the investigation will be complete.
The investigation will be reviewed by an independent attorney before any disciplinary action will be decided upon, said the spokesperson.
Woodson wants the officer fired.
"It made me lose complete trust in the local police department in Olympia just due to the fact she felt comfortable saying that to a person of color," Woodson said.