Dispute over cheese on burger leads to violent Butler Twp. arrest

An incident that led to an officer hitting a woman multiple times Monday began as a dispute over missing cheese on a Big Mac.

Butler Twp. Sgt. Todd Stanley and Off. Tim Zellers responded at 4:20 p.m. to a call about a disorderly customer at the McDonald’s at 3411 York Commons Blvd., and on arrival, officers spoke to Latinka Hancock, according to a police report.

In body camera footage, Hancock explains the dispute and said that she had received her money back.

In their report, Stanley said that Hancock had been backing out of her parking spot at the McDonald’s when they arrived, but that they had been asked to trespass Hancock.

Stanley said that he smelled alcohol on Hancock’s breath when they began speaking.

When asked for a driver’s license, Hancock said that she didn’t have one, and refused to provide her identification.

“I tried to explain that my desire was to provide her the trespass notice and for her to be on her way. She still refused,” Stanley wrote.

The exchange became more heated.

After Hancock refused to provide identifying information, the Stanley said, “You’re gonna make it more difficult than it has to be.”

“If you arrest me, I promise you you’re going to have a problem,” she replied.

While Stanley went to retrieve the trespass form, on body camera footage Hancock can be seen shouting, and Stanley tells her she is getting disorderly.

In his report, Zeller wrote that as Stanley went to retrieve the form he kept trying to get Hancock’s identification, and that although she gave her last name she refused to provide more. He decided to place Hancock under arrest.

According to the officers, Hancock resisted arrest, leading to a struggle and Zeller threatening to use a Taser on her. The sergeant wrote in his report that he didn’t think the taser would work through Hancock’s coat, so, “I used my right hand and with an open hand palm strike, I struck Hancock on the right side of the face near her mouth.”

Hancock was placed in handcuffs and put into the police cruiser.

According to the report, Hancock was bleeding from her mouth, and a medic was called who cleaned the wound and determined it was superficial.

After giving her identification, police said that Hancock didn’t have a valid driver’s license, and also that they found an open container of alcohol in the front seat of the vehicle Hancock was driving.

Hancock was charged with resisting arrest and failure to disclose personal information, the report said.

The arrest was captured on video and circulated on social media, leading to Butler Twp. police to publicly acknowledge the video and, after investigation, release more information this afternoon.

Stanley has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation into the use of force during the arrest.

Hancock reached out to media through her lawyers saying the incident began as missing cheese on a Big Mac and led to her being punched multiple times by an officer, and held a press event Wednesday afternoon.

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