Sheriff’s Office Releases Video Of Homeless Woman’s Arrest

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- A homeless disabled woman says she was roughed up by a Polk County Deputy. But his patrol car video tells the full story.

Diane Smith, who says she suffers with post traumatic stress disorder, says she was panhandling near the Hubbell Avenue exit from Highway 65 this month when the deputy slammed her to the ground and choked her service dog with a leash. But the patrol car video tells the whole story.


The 44-minute video shows Deputy Adam Rodgers first offer Smith a warning that panhandling is illegal. "I'm gonna give you one more chance," he tells her, "I printed off the ordinance for panhandling in unincorporated Polk County, ok? I'll give you one more chance then I'm gonna start taking you to jail."

Smith tells the deputy she has permission from another officer to panhandle there. She then tells the officer she has a weapons permit. Deputy Rodgers takes this as a threat and tells Smith she is being detained. She runs off, and he catches up with her and struggles to bring her to the ground.

"I'm telling you to come back here," deputy Rodgers shouts, "Ma'am you're under arrest. Ma'am, let me see your hands. Come here now. Hey, stop resisting. Let go of your dog. Ma'am, you're under arrest. Ma'am, stop it. Let go of the dog."

No where in the video does it appear the deputy chokes the dog. When Smith is cuffed, she explains she only offered her weapons permit because she believed she was required to. "You told me I was threatening you. I wasn't," Smith says, "I told you I have a permit to carry. I have to tell you guys that."

Deputy Rodgers later explains to someone else on the scene -- he took that as a threat. "She told me she has a permit to carry, like in a threatening manner. I was taking that as' hey I have a weapon.'"

Teresa Bomhoff with the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Des Moines says, for the most part, the deputy acted appropriately. "Overall the officer tried to handle it as calmly as he could, which is important when you're trying to work with somebody with mental illness issues."

The only fault Bomhoff says she found is the deputy should have tried to have a conversation with Smith when he found out she has PTSD. "That indeed may have been a big reason why she ran because with PTSD you have a really strong fight or flight response. And she obviously flew away, or tried to."

Smith is charged with Interference With Official Acts. She says she wants the charges dropped and plans to file a formal complaint with the sheriff's department.


  • Commodore 64c

    The correct thing to do now would be to issue an apology to the Polk County Sheriff’s department for releasing your one-sided story yesterday. In the future, you may want to think twice about taking the word of a mentally ill person and immediately drag the police under the bus because they are following protocol regarding the release of videos.

  • Troy Hendrickson

    Oddly I had a Polk County deputy once accuse me of threatening him when all I did was ask for his badge ID so I could file a complaint against him for his undue aggression and lack of professionalism.

  • Mike Cee

    Imagine that-she was lying about what happened. The officer acted with professionalism, and both she and a whole bunch of other folks tried to turn it into something it clearly was not-what a pathetic bunch.
    For all the folks that automatically assumed she was telling the truth and the officer was guilty, how does that ample helping of crow taste now?

  • john

    Way to cover the news fairly and accurately… not that to many of us believed that lady to begin with for obvious reasons. Get your stories in order and don’t put the first person that will talk back to you at the front of the news till you get the facts… horrible news reporting

  • Angie

    This woman is full of shi–!! She comes into our gas station accuses people of stealing her id, telling people she has ms, panhandles on the exit ramps while her boyfriend sits in the van(which they just got a newer version) playing with his cell phone, and last of all goes to the Dollar General returning dvds. Give her the white jacket and throw the key away!!!

    • BDaddy

      Wow! Thanks Angie for additional information. I would love to see it posted in the news. It tells an important fact about her character. And she puts on her cardboard sign that she has 2 service dogs? She doubles her odds by saying she is homeless with 2 service dogs. She is exploiting the people who are animal lovers and gullible enough to think that the money will benefit her dogs!

    • Sue

      Yeah WHO, I have to say, you are really doing the officers quite a disservice by throwing the story out there yesterday with the accusations that the deputy choked the dog and was harassing this poor, disabled, mentally ill homeless person. Officers of the law have a hard enough time doing their job as it is. there are already enough people out there that want to hate them just because they wear a uniform. Way to feed that fire. Why don’t you work on increasing racial tensions too, while you are at it? I thought you reported the news, not just whatever someone wanted to tell you. You don’t do ANY investigation what so ever before you print something as the gospel? This should be slander/libel against the officer.

    • Sue

      Yep, nothing frightening about that! I’m all for gun rights, but, I’m not sure this woman sounds like someone stable enough to have a gun. I admit, I don’t know a lot about PTSD, but, what if, in her PTSD-enabled panic, she had killed the officer?

  • dan

    Looks to me like the video is obviously missing some footage. Why would that happen? If you are carrying a weapon, you are supposed to tell them is the way I understand it. It didn’t sound much like a threat. She may be a nut I don’t know, but sitting in a jury box I’d want to know where the rest of that tape was.

    • Jason

      Dan, in Iowa, there is no requirement to inform an officer that you have a CCW or even that you are carrying a weapon. However, it is a wise idea to do so. HOW you do so is the key. As a CCW holder, in the event of any contact with law enforcement, I calmly state, “Sir/Maam, just to let you know, so there are no surprises, I do have my concealed carry permit, and I am carrying my weapon. My (name of weapon) is (on my left ankle, on my back right hip, in the glove box of my car). If you would like to secure my weapon while we talk, I understand completely.” As I say this, I keep my hands in clear view away from any weapon I am carrying, and I don’t make any sudden moves. This is the RIGHT way to inform an officer that you are carrying a weapon.

      If you have your CCW permit but are not carrying a weapon, there is NO legal requirement and NO good reason to even mention it.

      By waiting until she was well into the discussion with the officer and had already expressed her frustration and unwillingness to comply with an order, the officer was fully justified in feeling threatened. When she refused to comply with his lawful order, he handled it in an absolutely professional manner.

      Regarding the “missing tape,” go look at WHO’s other story, which includes the full 45 minutes of raw footage. The officers acted in a professional manner throughout the encounter. The only reason parts are missing is because WHO edited down because not everyone wants to watch 45 minutes of thiss woman’s hysterics.

      • Sue

        Thank you Jason for the information about the CCW and how to handle that with a police officer. Sounds like as long as you are reasonable so are they. I realize there are bad cops, but, there are a lot more good ones. Too bad the general public doesn’t want to admit that.

  • BDaddy

    And what do you know? There’s no looting, no vandalism, no civil unrest, no protests! There are civilized people in some areas of our country!

  • chris

    Shame on TV13 for trying to make this out as some cop brutality.
    There was almost ‘nothing’ to report, but TV13 had to exaggerate and make a story out of it.

  • Jim

    You can now see how news media works, sensationalize the story to get the viewers. Will WHO now allow the air time to show the public what actually happened. Maybe they can take the officer out to the “scene of the crime” and give the public the true story.

  • dan

    As far as civil unrest goes, why do they burn down their own neighborhoods??? Never did understand how stealing made them feel better. In this situation the cop was polite, I was just wondering why there was missing tape.
    I saw a guy begging money the other day in Des Moines and he was dressed better than I was.

    • SkinnyDLux

      PTSD isn’t specifically for combat veterans. Domestic aduse victims, suffering a traumatic loss, witnessing a fatality are. Few examples that can cause PTSD.

  • Angie

    She doesnt have PTSD she is a scammer!! She can harass people then when you turn it back on her shes yelling harassment and hoping the video is on so she can call her lawyer. She needs to make up her mind MS or PTSD. If she can stand for hours on an exit ramp begging for money get a job or make that man that sits in your van get a job.

  • Liz Randle

    I hope a public apology is part of the news this evening. I watched the video. How sad. These reporters are supposed to be well educated. I guess book smarts doesn’t equal good old common sense.

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