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Land O'Lakes woman arrested after checkout-line scuffle at Orlando-area Walmart

A Land O'Lakes woman who was shopping for Barbie dolls was arrested at a Walmart in Altamonte Springs on Thanksgiving night after she repeatedly refused the request of an off-duty police officer to go to the back of a checkout line, police said.

Samantha Chavez, 28, was handcuffed and taken to the Seminole County Jail, where she was booked on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence.

She posted $550 bail and was released about 4:30 a.m. Friday.

CFN13 aired video of part of the arrest. It showed an officer pinning her to the floor and handcuffing her near a long line of shoppers.

"Please stop!" she cried. "Please stop it!"

Altamonte Springs police Sgt. Paul Machovina said two officers, hired by Walmart for crowd control, were trying to keep checkout lines orderly.

A store employee had reported that shoppers were complaining about people cutting in line, according to a police news release.

"Ms. Chavez came up to the officer and tried to walk past him," Machovina said. He asked her to go to the back of the line, but she persisted, trying six or seven times to walk past him, Machovina said.

When she tried again to sneak past him, the officer took her arm, Machovina said.

"She started screaming, throwing her stuff down," Machovina said.

The officer and another who had joined him then arrested her.

Chavez, a mother of three, said she did nothing wrong and that she was the victim of an overzealous officer.

In the store, her sister-in-law had asked her to find Barbie dolls, which were on sale for $5, Chavez said.

She found three and then went to the checkout line but couldn't find her sister-in-law, she said, and couldn't call her because the battery in the other woman's cellphone was dead.

"I was bringing them up to her to see if she wanted them," Chavez said. "I said many times, 'I'm just trying to find my sister. You're a cop. Shouldn't you be there to help?' "

When the officer took her arm, she said, "Of course I reacted. 'Why are you grabbing me?' I was upset. This was a very traumatic experience."

The officer treated her as if she was a "crazy Black Friday shopper," Chavez said. "It was just ridiculous. … I didn't do anything. I didn't touch him, didn't curse at him. … I want people to understand that I'm a normal person. I've never had any trouble in my life."

Chavez, who said she works at a bank, had no arrest history in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Land O'Lakes woman arrested after checkout-line scuffle at Orlando-area Walmart 11/23/12 [Last modified: Friday, November 23, 2012 10:57pm]
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