(KVUE) ROUND ROCK, Texas — Video captured by a man inside the Wing Stop on East Palm Valley in Round Rock Tuesday afternoon shows Officer Ben Johnson arresting Viviana Keith.
The video shows Johnson and Keith talking, then he tries to force her to bend over onto the hood of his car during the arrest. When she resists, Johnson performs a take-down move, essentially throwing Keith onto the ground. She hit her head and was knocked unconscious.
The video goes on to show Keith’s 6-year-old daughter walk over to check on her mom as the officer rolls Keith onto her back and checks her pulse.
“When I look back at the tape, I can see her head bounce off the concrete because when he threw her down, she wasn’t able to brace herself,” said the man who recorded the video, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. “She was absolutely unconscious. There were a couple of other gentleman in the store with me and we were saying ‘is she breathing?’ Because at first we weren’t seeing her stomach rise and fall.”
Viviana Garcia, who works in the shopping strip, said witnessed the incident and fearing the worst, she walked over to help Keith’s child.
“It looked like she was dead,” Garcia said. “The little girl was screaming, ‘Mommy, mommy.'”
Staff from an urgent care center in the strip went over to help until EMS arrived. Witnesses say the left side of Keith’s face was black and she had a large cut over her eye.
What the video did not capture was what led up to the arrest. Witnesses said Keith was drunk when she walked into Deluxe Nails.
“She was a little loud, and disruptive,” said Rebecca Tomlinson, who was inside the nail salon. “She said she was very tired, really tired and they said, ‘Maybe you should go home and get some sleep,’ and then she turned around and stumbled out.”
Garcia said Keith’s daughter told her Keith had been drinking all day.
“We started talking to the little girl and she started telling us what had been going on. That her mom had been intoxicated all day and that she was hungry,” said Garcia.
Round Rock Police Chief Allen Banks said police received phone calls about Keith entering another nail salon, “and she was very combative, very argumentative and also very intoxicated,” Banks said.
Callers told police Keith got in her car with her daughter and left, and police received calls about an “erratic driver, driving carelessly.”
Johnson found the vehicle matching both descriptions and Keith in the shopping strip. Tomlinson watched their interaction.
“I seen her resisting and, in the beginning she was jerking her arm from him,” Tomlinson said.
Banks has seen the dash cam video but said he has not talked with Johnson. KVUE showed him the video and asked, intoxicated or not, is this use of force necessary?
“The officer was very professional, was talking to her calm, he wasn’t excited, he wasn’t angry,” said Banks. “It’s unfortunate, the fact that this lady did what appears to hit her head and was knocked unconscious, but I’ll tell you, the officer did what he was supposed to do in a situation like that.”
Keith was arrested and charged with DWI with a child younger than 15 and interfering with pubic duties. As of Wednesday evening, she was still in the Williamson County Jail.
KVUE also spoke with Keith’s mother. She said her daughter doesn’t remember what happened and doesn’t know how she got a black eye. She started crying when she saw the video of her daughter.
“It hurts. I knew something had happened but I didn’t know it was that bad,” said Diane Durvasula. “She’s out for a while obviously, and her daughter, my granddaughter saw all that. That’s just too much. That’s not acceptable.”
Round Rock police investigate all use of force incidents. While the department is investigating, Johnson is still working. Police officials say he has been with the department for four years and was an officer in another state before moving to Round Rock.