Ulster Sheriff releases body cam video showing alleged excessive force arrest

A still from the body cam video.

The Ulster County Sheriff released the body cam footage yesterday from the arrest of a 26-year-old Saugerties woman that led to claims of excessive force following a traffic stop in the town of Ulster. 

Shana Shaw of Saugerties was arrested December 28 around 3:45 p.m. on the charges of resisting arrest, driving with a suspended license and marijuana possession. Shaw posted a 43-second video recorded by a bystander the same day, which showed her being pulled from her car and handcuffed on the ground by two officers. She told Hudson Valley One that she believes the deputy used excessive force, resulting in a concussion, nerve damage in her wrist from the handcuffs, and bruises on her body, which put her out of work for three days. She said she made a formal complaint and planned to sue the sheriff’s department. 

The 8-minute 39-second body cam video sheds more light on the interaction between Shaw and Deputy Brian Woltman that unfolded that afternoon in the Buffalo Wild Wings parking lot. The video begins with Woltman approaching Shaw’s vehicle. She asks why she was pulled over. The deputy responds: “you cut me off without signaling back there on 9W,” and “your license is suspended.” Shaw responds that she did signal and says she just cleared the suspended license but the paperwork was at home. 

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Woltman replies, “that stinks.”

Shaw then suggests having someone pick up the car and explains that she’s there to meet a friend. Woltman then asks her to “hop out.” Shaw complies, and then asks why she had to get out of the vehicle. Woltman replies that it’s because she’s being placed under arrest for driving without a license. 

At this point, the tone of the interaction changes.

“Let’s not make things difficult,” says Woltman.“Let’s make this very easy.”

Shaw says the deputy can follow her home to see the paperwork for her license and that she can prove it. 

“No, I’m not following you home,” says Woltman. 

“So you’re going to arrest me after I just left work, and I’m a nurse?” says Shaw, who said earlier this week she is a nurse assistant. 

Woltman asks Shaw to step closer to him. She says no and gets back into her car, saying she was going to call her lawyer.  

Deputy Woltman follows her, standing in front of the driver’s side door and calling for backup. He then grabs her arm and tells her she’s under arrest. 

For around the next six minutes, Deputy Woltman and Shaw go back and forth, saying “you’re under arrest, stop resisting,” and “I’m not resisting.” At one point, Woltman says “I’m going to taze you if you don’t get out of the car.”

When Shaw says someone is filming the interaction, Woltman replies he is also recording the situation. Eventually, another officer approaches from the passenger side, trying to calm Shaw down. He can be heard saying, “look at me, just listen to me for a second.”

Following that, the body cam video reaches the point at which the bystander video began: Deputy Woltman pulls Shaw out of the vehicle, and she can be seen handcuffed while laying stomach-down on the pavement. She yells “I’m not resisting” and “Ow, you’re hurting me.”

Shaw was then brought to the back of the police vehicle. She yells,“I fell on my fucking head,” before an officer shut the door with her in the back seat. The video ends shortly after that.

The Ulster County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook post with the body cam footage has been viewed almost 300,000 times and led to over 4,000 comments.

In a post accompanying the video, Sheriff Juan Figueroa explains why it was released. 

“I found it prudent to release the body camera footage of the event that occurred on December 28, 2020 in a parking lot in the Town of Ulster, as this event has already garnered community attention. Encounters with law enforcement can be unpredictable, and although this is not to say one way or the other that anyone is at fault, this will at least shed light on the event as it occurred in real time. Like all technology, devices such as body cameras, cell phones and similar devices are machines with limitations.  This complaint remains under investigation.”

There are 4 comments

  1. DHrealRN

    This person should be charged with impersonating a nurse! This goes towards her character. If I were a physician assistant or a dental assistant and reported to law enforcement that I was a physician or a dentist, all hell would break loose! I hope the authorities do not overlook this important legal element! She should be charged for all the laws she violated!

    1. Mindyourbusiness

      she’s a nurses assistant so don’t come on the internet without knowing the facts she is registered in the STATE OF NEW YORK to work in the same healthcare facilities as you “RN”. CNAS work in LTC facilities and Hospitals. Goodbye

    2. Bill H

      Saying, “I’m a nurse,” is not against the law, thank goodness. This is most certainly true when the person saying it is a CNA. And she was not trying to perform duties beyond her licensing.

      As for the officer’s video, it is awful to see, but does show a level of patience we would hope for in that situation. As a white male, I do not know the experience of this black woman in this situation, so I want to be sensitive to that. She is clearly legitimately panicking, but I am not sure what else this deputy could have done. He was placing her under arrest for driving with a suspended license (here, we should ask, does everyone get placed under arrest in the situation?). When she became uncooperative and got back in the car, things escalated. On the one hand, the woman does not know if she is about to be the next black casualty at the hands of police, and on the other this deputy does not know if she is going to reach for a weapon or attempt to flee in her car. Either way, he worked hard to regain control of the situation and keep her under his control until more police showed up. Heck, he gave her enough leeway to make a phone call.

  2. andrew cowan

    The video clearly shows the woman refusing his requests, physically resisting him and her getting hysterical – for 5 minutes. I give the officer credit for being so patient with her for so long. Bottom line- she was driving on a suspended license, didn’t follow the requirements of carrying proof of it being re-instated if in fact it had been a- and she was pulled over for failing to use a turn signal.

    As a sometimes wise guy 18 year old 45 years ago I learned pretty quickly that disobeying a cops directives would never work- it’s not as if they’re going to shrug their shoulders and give up when you refuse to comply. They will win- every time- call in more cops, taze the person- whatever needs to be done to get them to comply. Far better to be totally compliant and respectful at the time of the incident and deal with the things through the correct legal processes later. Arguing/fighting/resisting with a cop at the time of the incident never, ever works.

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