TAMPA — It was Dec. 23, and a Temple Terrace police officer had just pulled Rebecca Reyes over for broken taillights, and all the Playboy model wanted to do was hide her boyfriend's Christmas present before he spotted it.
One problem: She got out of her truck and ignored officers' orders to get back in. Then she mouthed off when one of them took hold of her arm.
She ended up bruised and facing a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest without violence.
A jury convicted her Tuesday, but Hillsborough County Judge Thomas Barber spared Reyes, 21, jail time. He sentenced her to 12 months' probation, 48 hours of community service picking up trash with the Sheriff's Office and a $500 fine.
"Her attitude on the night in question is her problem," the judge said.
Reyes — who says she has posed for Playboy, GQ and Esquire under the name of Reby Sky — stood before TV cameras after the verdict and maintained that she did nothing wrong.
Looking back, she said, "I probably wouldn't have cursed because that seemed to offend a few people."
The incident pitted the 105-pound woman against two male officers, each about twice her size.
They said she started cursing when they asked her several times to get back into her truck. They pushed her up against a patrol car to try and handcuff her, but had to put her on the ground when she continued to twist and turn, they said.
"She was just belligerent and would not listen to reason at all," Officer William W. Cooper said.
Reyes testified that she had just pulled into her apartment complex and text-messaged her boyfriend to meet her when she was stopped. She said she needed to hide the wallet and digital picture frame she had bought for him.
Before her boyfriend arrived, one of the officers "came at me like a bull," she testified. They threw her on the ground, she said, and "it felt like there was an elephant on top of me."
Her mug shot shows a bruised shoulder. Reyes recalls trying to keep her face from getting scratched. She is seeing a therapist and a priest to deal with the pain of the incident, she said.
Her attorney, Jay Hebert, said police, not his client, caused the situation to escalate.
"No citizen," he said, "deserves to be treated like this over a broken taillight."
Colleen Jenkins can be reached
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