An Ohio police officer is on leave after he was seen in a cellphone video repeatedly punching a Black woman in the face, leaving her with a bloodied lip, following a dispute over a slice of cheese.

Iran PressAmerica: The incident on Monday just before 5 p.m. began when Butler Township police Sergeant Todd Stanley and officer Tim Zellers were called to a McDonald's because of a disturbance. Staff requested that the woman, Latinka Hancock, "be formally trespassed from the property" after she got into a dispute with an employee, Chief John Porter said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Porter said the officers repeatedly asked Hancock to identify herself, which he said is a requirement when officers need to issue a trespass notice. When she refused, the officers attempted to place her under arrest, the chief said. During the arrest, Sergeant Stanley struck Hancock, his police body camera footage shows.

In the footage, which was played at the news conference, Hancock explained that she got into a dispute with an employee because she paid to have extra cheese on her burger but the sandwich did not include it. Stanley said that he needed to issue a trespass notice and asked Hancock for her information but she refused to give it to him.

"You're going to make it more difficult than it has to be," the sergeant said, according to the footage.

Both videos showed Stanley hitting Hancock in the face following a brief struggle. She was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and failure to identify, police said. She also received citations for driving under suspension and having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle.

Michael Wright, an attorney for Hancock, said at a news conference that the "incident should have never occurred." He said McDonald’s should be "ashamed" for calling the police and condemned the officers' handling of the situation.

According to Wright, Hancock left McDonald's when a manager told her to leave. She waited outside the eatery so she could explain what happened to the police.

"This is an incredibly sad day when Ms. Latinka Hancock’s life has been upended over a piece of cheese," he said.

The incident left Hancock with a busted lip, loose teeth, a closed head injury, and a back injury, Wright said. McDonald's did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hancock told reporters that she was "scared" because of her interactions with the officers.

"That video shows a woman explaining herself," she said. "When he asked me to identify myself it wasn't that I'm trying to be belligerent ... it wasn't that. It's over a sandwich, a sandwich that I have to literary now sign a paper over trespassing."

She continued: "If it would have been done right, I wouldn't have had to come back. ... But because I just tried to come back and get it at least figured out, I almost lost my life behind it. The reason why I said I'm going to be quiet now, I'm going to stand up, I'm not going to be George Floyd."

Floyd, a Black man, was killed during an arrest by Minneapolis police in 2020.


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