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Woman hit by deputy disputes reports she was combative

January 12, 2012 |  9:32 am

The female bus rider who was videotaped getting hit by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy said that claims she was combative on the bus are untrue.

A cellphone video taken by another passenger shows a deputy delivering a blow to Julie Nelson, 42, on the left side of her face with his elbow during a confrontation on the bus Monday night. A 911 call made by a passenger reported that she was being aggressive.

Listen to the audio:

But Nelson told NBCLA a different story.  She admitted that there was a verbal confrontation at the bus stop before she boarded the bus.

"The guy was scaring me the way he was looking at me," Nelson said on Thursday. "I didn't touch him though. I know better than to touch people."

Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were on the bus responding to a 911 call from a passenger reporting a woman threatening violence.

VIDEO: Clash on bus

"She's trying to pick a fight with anybody, she almost hit an old man," the caller said. "She was talking about how she got out of prison and 'I'll beat up all you guys.'"

The man who recorded the video told the television station that the woman was polite and friendly toward the other passengers. He said she started cursing at the deputies when they asked her to get off.

The deputies knew Nelson and were aware that she had four convictions for assaulting a police officer, said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.

"I have never put my hand ever on a deputy.  Never," Nelson told NBCLA.

Sheriff Lee Baca said in a radio interview with KNX 1070 that it was his understanding the woman was homeless and had a history of mental problems. 

Nelson was placed on a mental observation hold but not arrested.

Nelson's friends told KNBCLA that the woman was off medication to treat her mental illness at the time of the incident.

Baca said the deputy would be held accountable for his actions but stopped short of saying the incident required discipline. He also said the deputy might require retraining.

"If the individual deputy who swung an elbow at the lady is looking at that as a sensible solution, we need to retrain that individual," he told the radio station.


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