MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. --- An Atlantic Beach town councilwoman asks a police officer three times whether she can use the bathroom after getting out of her van during a traffic stop and is slowly walking away when the officer quickly grabs her and slams her against her van, according to a police video.
The dashboard camera video, released this week, recorded Retha Pierce's traffic stop by a Horry County officer Christmas night along U.S. Highway 17.
The video shows Ms. Pierce getting out of her van before Officer Robert Dale gets out of his cruiser. She says she needs to go to the bathroom. The officer ignores her and asks for her driver's license, registration and insurance card.
"Can't I just go to the bathroom?" Ms. Pierce responds.
"No, you're going to stay right here," the officer says.
"I have to use the bathroom," she says and takes a couple of steps away from the van. Without warning, the officer grabs her, slams her against the van and handcuffs her as she screams and sobs.
"But I've got to use the bathroom," she says.
"You can use it at the jail," he replies.
Ms. Pierce last week told The Associated Press she has a bladder problem and wet her clothes before arriving at the jail.
Ms. Pierce, 58, was charged with resisting arrest, reckless driving and failing to give a signal, according to an arrest warrant.
She has accused the officer of using excessive force and the Horry County Police Department is conducting an internal investigation.
"It will still be some time, I'm sure, before we close the investigation," said Sgt. Bob Carr, a department spokesman. The officer is still on duty.
Ms. Pierce told The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News she wanted to use the incident as a teaching tool.
"I can take what happened to me and bring to light that people should become educated of the urgency of staying in the car," Ms. Pierce said.
AT THE SCENE: Atlantic Beach councilwoman Retha Pierce was stopped by a police officer. As he approached, she informed him that she needed to use the bathroom. OFFICER'S RESPONSE: The officer grabs and arrests Ms. Pierce after she begins to step away while asking to use the bathroom. WHAT'S NEXT: Ms. Pierce has accused the officer of using excessive force, and the Horry County Police Department is conducting an internal investigation.