Woman Says Vienna Police Assaulted Her

By Allan Lengel and Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, January 9, 2006

A 28-year-old Bowie woman said she suffered a broken nose, facial bruises and a variety of other injuries when she was manhandled by Vienna police who stopped her car early Saturday.

Timothy Shea, the father of Tara Shea, said that after officers gave his daughter two field sobriety tests, they "slammed her face and head into the ground" without provocation.

A police official said that during the traffic stop, police determined that Tara Shea had been driving under the influence. Capt. Michael Miller, deputy chief of Vienna's police department, said that the woman became combative and that the officers used "enough force" to make the arrest.

Tara Shea was charged with driving while intoxicated, possession of a concealed weapon (a knife) and two counts of felony assault on a police officer, Miller said.

Timothy Shea said last night that his daughter works as a baker and that she was taking two people to the Vienna Metro station early Saturday after a party where she had worked.

He said his daughter was unfamiliar with the area and may have seemed to be driving erratically.

After being stopped on Nutley Street, he said, she was given two field sobriety tests. He said she passed both.

"She was completely compliant," he said, but "all of a sudden they did a takedown."

He said that the assault charges were based on her spitting blood after being injured.

Her father said the knife on which the weapons charge is based is used by his daughter in her job.

He said his daughter's injuries included scratches on her shoulder, neck, knees and back and bruises on her wrists. She plans to contest all the charges, he added.

Miller said police will begin an investigation today and added that it is standard procedure to investigate any use of force.

The officers were not identified. Miller said they remain on duty.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company