OKC Police Investigate 'Use Of Force' Following Shoplifting Arrest


Thursday, April 5th 2012, 10:19 pm
By: News 9


A family is crying foul over what happened moments after police say a woman was caught stealing from an Oklahoma City Home Depot store.

Witnesses caught the arrest on camera as an off-duty police officer and a security guard restrained the suspect before more police arrived.

The suspected shoplifter's family says it does not condone stealing or excessive force. After video of the arrest surfaced on YouTube, the family called News 9. Police are currently investigating the use of force.

Watch the entire video here.

"I can't breathe," Ana Maria Cruz could be heard saying in the amateur video.

Witnesses report that Cruz was resisting arrest from an off-duty Oklahoma City police officer, who was moonlighting at the Home Depot. The question is, could his actions be considered excessive force, or was Cruz being overly dramatic.

"It seemed like too much [force]," Cruz's sister told News 9.

The suspect's sister did not want to be identified. She says it hurts watching the YouTube video.

"My sister's not a dangerous person," the sister said.

Police say otherwise. Cruz had three outstanding felony warrants for her arrest when officers say she decided to steal with two accomplices. Cruz was the only one caught. Family members say her boyfriend and daughter got away.

"When people catch these types of incidents on video, you never see that whole incident," Capt. Dexter Nelson of Oklahoma City police said.

Oklahoma City police say the department is conducting a use of force investigation. Police say those investigations are standard anytime force is used.

Cruz was taken to a hospital after being arrested. Police say she was medically cleared before heading to jail. Cruz was charged with child neglect in 2011. She pleaded guilty to grand larceny in 2009.