Woman accusing Olympia police of assault pleads not guilty

OLYMPIA - A woman who has alleged in blog messages and on fliers posted downtown that an Olympia police officer assaulted her while arresting her pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the incident.

Pony Black, 30, faces charges of misdemeanor combat in public and obstruction of a police officer. She entered her plea Wednesday in Olympia Municipal Court after being cited for the Sept. 25 incident.

The left side of the woman’s face struck the pavement when the officer used a “straight arm bar takedown” to place her in custody as they grappled during an altercation in front of Jakes on Fourth Avenue, an Olympia police report states.

The officer had responded to a report of two women fighting. Black was one of the women , according to the report.

According to the police report, Black ignored the officer’s commands to remain seated after the fight was broken up, swore at the officer and physically resisted when the officer tried to get her to sit. The officer states in the report that he performed the takedown to avoid being kicked .

A photo of the woman’s face posted on www.olyblog  . net and in fliers posted at various locations show that she had a black left eye, a swollen lip and a cut above her left eye.

A message Black posted on olyblog.net reads: “I was on the sidewalk playing a keyboard with some folk when a girl, who is always starting s*** with me, came up to me and pushed me. We began to have a yelling and shoving match. The police apparently were nearby for some other incident so the response was fast. I was in the Altered States Tattoo alcove talking to an officer when suddenly and without provocation he grabbed the back of my head and slammed my face into the ground. Witnesses tell me that my head was then repeatedly smashed into the cement. I was thrown up against the cop car, bleeding profusely from my head injury.”

The Olympian has obtained a copy of the police report made after Black’s arrest.

In the report, Officer Bryan Houser states that he responded to a report of a fight and arrived to see two women throwing punches . Houser reported that he grabbed one of the women by the arm, told her he was a police officer and ordered her to stop fighting.

According to the report:

An unidentified man also was trying to break up the fight . Black “came charging” around that man trying to break up the fight and tried to punch the other woman .

Houser grabbed Black by the jacket, pulled her to an alcove of an adjacent business and “told her to calm down but she tried to pull away from me, so I ordered her to sit on the ground in an attempt to get her under control.”

Black sat on the ground. Houser asked why she was fighting, “and it was apparent she was extremely intoxicated because her speech was very slurred and she was very emotional.” Black said the other woman had assaulted her several times, and she was tired of it.

Another officer found the second woman and brought her back to where Houser was talking to Black.

Black stood up, and Houser ordered her to sit down . She swore at Houser and refused . Houser grabbed Black “by the left arm and the right shoulder of her jacket and directed her to the window of the business to get her under control.”

During the ensuing altercation, Houser pushed Black against the wall of an adjacent business. Black pushed back and ignored repeated orders to sit down. “She appeared to be trying to move towards a group that was within about six feet of me yelling for me to let her go,” Houser wrote.

Also according to Houser’s report:

Black made a move suggesting she was going to try to kick Houser. He performed the takedown to avoid being kicked; Black landed on her stomach and the left side of her face.

A nearby crowd became angry, and Black began yelling about her head hitting the sidewalk.

The woman with whom Black allegedly had been fighting had left the area; police were unable to locate her or the man who helped break up the fight .

Black was taken to Olympia police headquarters. Olympia fire officials dispatched to police headquarters determined that Black did not need to be hospitalized . She was booked into the Olympia city jail on suspicion of combat in public and obstructing justice.

Olympia police Cmdr. Tor Bjornstad said Wednesday that he saw nothing in the report that indicates Houser did anything wrong or used excessive force. Black likely would not have been arrested had she complied, Bjornstad added.

Bjornstad said it is his understanding that Black has filed a complaint of excessive force with the police department.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465 jpawloski@theolympian.com