MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The woman whose bloody arrest was caught on camera at a MATA terminal is telling her side of the story. The videos have been shared more than 16,000 times on social media.
“I just kept watching the videos over and over and over and over again,” said Breanna Belem. “[I] kept rereading the comments over and over and over again.”
With a broken neck and fresh out of jail, 19-year-old Belem said the attention the videos of her arrest are getting has taken her by surprise.
“It kind of messed me up a little bit because I don’t like seeing myself in those types of situations because I actually have been trying to get on the right track,” she said.
Police charged her with simple assault after they said she was on MATA property she’d been banned from and resisted arrest.
But Belem says there’s more to the story.
She said she was first with her friends on the other side of the street from the MATA station when an officer told them to move their gathering across the street. She said they told the officer some of them were banned from MATA property, but he told them to cross anyways.
Belem admitted she made some inappropriate remarks to that officer before going to the other side of the street near a stop sign she says was still off MATA property. That’s when she says four police cars pulled up.
“Out of nowhere, the police officer points at me and is like, he said, ‘You, what’s your name? ‘Give me your ID.’ I said, ‘I didn’t do anything. I know my law. I don’t have to give you my name or ID.’”
She said the officers then put her into a patrol car.
“I admit my fault on this part that comes next because I was wrong for doing this, but at the same time, I panicked.”
She said she slipped out of the handcuffs, opened the door and ran.
The police report says an officer bumped her while chasing her, which caused her to hit a wet floor sign, fall and hit her head on the building.
“I know for a fact the man pushed me,” said Belem. “I didn’t slip on the water. I didn’t slip on the wet floor sign, none of that.”
Belem said she knows she made mistakes in this situation but said she’s had a rough history with police.
“We’re more afraid of you than you are of us.”
She also said she wants people to put themselves in her shoes before they pass judgement.
“A lot of folks kept talking about, ‘Where are her parents? Where is her mother? If her parents were doing this, this and this, then this wouldn’t happen,'” said Belem of some of the comments on social media. “My mother died when I was 11 and my father turned over his rights to the state when I was 13, so that kind of hit me a little hard.”
Memphis police said they are investigating the use of force in this incident.
MATA said Belem was banned from its property after three incidents involving fighting.