La. Woman Admits to Attempting to Leave the Booking Room

A woman says officer beat her after he turned off camera.

ByABC News via logo
February 19, 2009, 6:26 AM

Feb. 20, 2008 — -- A handcuffed Louisiana woman who emerged from a police holding room with two black eyes and broken teeth said that after the arresting officer turned off a monitoring camera he slammed her against a wooden door and then against a metal locker.

Angela Garbarino also admitted that while the camera was off she tried to leave the room despite orders from Officer Wylie Willis to stay put.

Garbarino spoke to "Good Morning America" for the first time about what happened during those minutes that the camera was turned off.

"It was very painful," she said. "Officer Willis came over to me to the chair. He threw me against the door. He slammed me against that black file locker [seen in the video]."

Garbarino, who described the incident as "a nightmare," contends that Willis physically abused her, but Willis' attorney said she was inebriated and disorderly.

"Although unfortunate, her injuries were caused by her own erratic behavior and her failure to comply with lawful, reasonable and standard instructions for persons under arrest," said Willis' attorney Eron Brainard in a statement to ABC News. "Officer Willis was presented with an intoxicated and extremely belligerent female criminal suspect who had just been arrested by other officers for the highly dangerous offenses of Driving While Intoxicated."

Though police and Garbarino agree the situation was uneasy, Garbarino said she was not so drunk she couldn't recall the incident.

"I remember everything," she said. "I wanted to make a phone call and he wouldn't let me. I repeatedly asked him why he wouldn't let me make a phone call. He just ignored me."

When pressed on whether she tried to leave the room, Garbarino paused and answered, "Yes."

Garbarino said her injuries included two black eyes, two broken teeth and bruises on her arm and shoulder.

Her attorney Ron Miciotto said his client also suffered a broken nose and a severe cut on her forehead. He added that once Willis turned the video camera back on, Garbarino could be seen lying on the floor in a pool of blood. Viewers can see him checking his hands to see whether blood is on them, Miciotto said.

"On three occasions he looks down on his hands to see if there is any blood on his hands," Miciotto said.

Authorities fired Willis after the incident and he is contesting his dismissal. Willis may be bolstered by the support of his police union.