Woman accusing New Castle County police of assault during traffic stop speaks out with attorney

N’Finitee Coleman, the woman who claims she was assaulted by New Castle County Police officers after she was pulled over for a traffic stop last month, is speaking out for the first time.

Just last week, police released body camera video of the incident.

"Anybody who was in my shoes would be confused and terrified," she says.

On June 29th, just before 2 p.m. Coleman says she was driving like she would have if her daughter was still in the car, but police say they pulled her over for several traffic violations, adding that the car’s registration was suspended without insurance.

Coleman and her attorney provided proof of her registration and insurance on Tuesday.

According to police, the officer activated his emergency lights behind the car at Pulaski Highway and Wellington Drive to initiate a traffic stop. However, the car continued down Pulaski Highway, making the right turn onto Brookmont Drive. The car then continued to the Royal Farms parking lot before backing into a parking space, police say.

In the body camera video, an officer, while getting out of the driver’s seat to approach Coleman’s vehicle, says, "Step out of the car. Step out. Step out."

"Why?" asked Coleman.

"Because I asked you to," says the officer.

"Am I detained?" asked Coleman.

"Yes," says the officer.


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Moments later, the camera shows the officer trying to open Coleman’s door and she pulls it shut, saying, "No, we’re not doing this."

"Why are you opening up my car door and not even telling me what the issue is?" says Coleman, during Tuesday’s press conference. "I didn't feel safe. Who would feel safe when an officer comes in, opens the door, opens your vehicle forcibly, and you're a female at that? That was not needed."

Coleman says she suffers from anxiety and PTSD and asked for the officer’s supervisor. When the officer starts to explain why he can order her out of her car, Coleman says, "Why are you stuttering? Breathe, calm down."

The officer, at one point, tells Coleman the reason he stopped her was for multiple unsafe lane changes, no turn signal and the tag suspended for no insurance.

When three other officers come to assist, the video shows the situation escalate. Officers repeatedly yell for Coleman to get off an officer’s foot, and they end up on the ground. Coleman says she was punched several times and the ordeal caused bruising, scrapes, and pain she’s still dealing with on her side and head.

In the video during the scuffle, an officer can be heard saying, "This didn’t have to be like this."

When asked about Coleman’s comments and cursing towards the officers, she says she was scared.

"It was my fear," she says. "He approached my vehicle the way he did. I reacted off of his energy."’

Coleman’s attorney says she was charged with offensive touching of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct, among others. He feels she should be compensated for her injuries and wants reform at the department.

"You’re going to encounter people with mental health challenges. You're going to encounter people maybe on their worst day, and you're trained for that," says Emeke Igwe. "You're trained to react to that. It does not give you a right to assault someone who is fully restrained."

When police released the body camera video, they stated in a written press release: "Body-worn cameras may not be ideal for recording rapidly evolving events. This is due to lighting conditions, the camera's physical location, the camera's frame rate, and the speed of the incident.  These factors may contribute to the viewer having a different perception from what the officer experienced. These video images are only one piece of evidence to be considered in reconstructing and evaluating the totality of the circumstances."

Police say their Division of Police Professional Standards Unit is conducting an administrative investigation to determine whether the officer's actions were within policy. Additionally, their Use of Force Review Unit is conducting a use-of-force analysis, and the incident was also referred to the Delaware Department of Justice, Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust, where the investigations and reviews are still ongoing.

FOX 29 reached out to police about the specific claims outlined during Tuesday’s press conference, but a spokesperson said they have no additional comments on this incident.