Dashcam shows Northampton Police pull 60-year-old woman out of car during traffic stop
Shocking, newly released police dash camera footage shows a Northampton officer pulling a woman out of her car during a traffic stop this past April.
Before the driver was pulled out of her vehicle, Officer John Sellew was seen attempting to stop Marisol Driouech, who drove by the officer with a broken headlight.
According to the police report, after Officer Sellew put on his lights to signal the driver to pull over, it takes Driouech a quarter mile to stop.
Sellew then goes up to the Driouech and says he’s pulling her over for the headlight that’s out and failure to pull over.
Driouech explains to Sellew that she didn’t know why she was being pulled over, and tensions quickly escalate.
After being asked to produce her license and registration 2 more times, Sellew asks Driouech to step out of her vehicle.
The police report states Sellew saw Driouech roll up her window and reach for her gear shift.
Thinking she was making a run for it, Sellew then takes Driouech out of her car.
The two struggled on the ground for just under 3 minutes before a second Northampton police officer who was called to the scene pepper sprayed Driouech while she was being restrained.
After an internal investigation by Northampton Police and a review from the Northwestern District Attorney’s office, Sellew’s use of force was found to be within the department’s policies.
We asked Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper about her thoughts after reviewing the footage herself.
She tells Western Mass News that if Officer Sellew had taken more time to speak with the driver, the intensity of this encounter could have turned less aggressive.
“We want to be able to be on scene and de-escalate them and not escalate them. In this case, without a doubt, anyone who has seen this video can see that the communication is not effective from the officer,” said Kasper
The Mayor of Northampton also weighed in on the dashcam footage.
“It is clear to me that a slower, more considered interaction and more effective communication could have avoided the escalation of the situation. I was very concerned to see the situation escalate to such a degree on the video and strongly disagree with how the officer handled it,” said Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra.
At no point was Officer Sellew suspended for his actions. He also attended 2 verbal de-escalation classes in June and July.
We have heard from Northampton police that Driouech is threatening litigation in this case.
Western mass news reached out to her attorney and confirmed that English is not her first language.