Stephanie Nickerson is recovering this week after sustaining injuries due to an altercation with North Carolina police that turned unexpectedly violent.

Nickerson, a 25-year-old Navy vet, claims a Durham, North Carolina police officer assaulted her after she informed her friend that she did not have to allow officers to search her home without proper cause.

ABC Local reports:

Twenty-five-year-old Stephanie Nickerson said the incident started when police showed up at her friend’s home early Sunday morning. The police were called about a disturbance and wanted to search the house. 

Nickerson said she told her friend that she didn’t have to let police in, and that’s when things escalated.

“He was like put your arms behind your back, and I jerked my arm away and said no I haven’t done anything wrong. And immediately after I jerked my arm back he threw me on the ground, he held me by my neck, and punched me repeatedly in my face and head,” Nickerson said.

Meanwhile her friends said they stood by, watching helplessly.

“He was hitting her with all his force. I could see him going all the way back, hitting her as hard as he could, and there was nothing I could do,” eyewitness Tahveya Platt said.

Nickerson was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer, a claim she vehemently disputes.

“You can hear the officer, even though he has his knee in my back and my face is in the ground, he says don’t hit me, don’t hit me. How am I hitting you when I’m down on the ground, pinned, beat up?” she told local reporters.

Nickerson has filed a formal complaint against the police department and is seeking a lawyer to represent her in a possible lawsuit. Durham police say they are investigating the incident.

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