A longtime video game developer was arrested at a South Carolina gas station on Wednesday afternoon after suffering significant injuries as the result of a tackle by a police officer. The arrest followed the woman's attempt to film officers arresting fellow shoppers at a QuikTrip store in Rock Hill. Soon afterward, both sides of the arrest told vastly different stories of what exactly happened.
Former Disney, Turbine, and Ubisoft developer Patricia Pizer posted images from her hospital stay on Thursday morning on her Facebook page. A text post attached to the images, apparently written by Pizer's husband, included the following list of injuries that she sustained following her altercation with police: "Broken teeth (five that we know of), dislocated shoulder, several lacerations, bruised hip, fracture of the skull, concussion."
The news of Pizer's arrest and injuries quickly spread throughout the game development community, with industry peers such as Brenda Romero (Wizardry) and Robin Hunicke (Journey) sharing Pizer's text and video updates (along with a link to a GoFundMe fundraiser to cover her medical bills). Pizer's game-industry credits include Creative Director for Asheron's Call 2, Senior Designer for Disney's Club Penguin series, and Senior Design Analyst for MMOs such as The Matrix Online and Uru: Ages Beyond Myst.
“Punched the officer in the head twice”
In a statement offered to Charlotte TV station WBTV, Rock Hill Police alleged that "the officer involved made a lawful arrest and used force necessary to effect the arrest of Ms. Pizer." This was determined, RHPD said, after reviewing an officer's body-cam footage and the QuikTrip store's camera footage (neither of which are currently publicly available). A separate report from HeraldOnline clarified that no dash cam footage of the arrest, which occurred near a police car, was captured, as the original arresting officer did not "turn on his blue lights" when arriving at the scene.
The RHPD statement alleged that Pizer "physically interjected" herself during the officer's arresting attempts, then alleged that Pizer became increasingly physical:
The officer approached Ms. Pizer to place her in handcuffs when Ms. Pizer punched the officer in the head twice and kicked the officer once. The officer then attempted to put Ms. Pizer on the ground, however she grabbed the handle of the door to the store. The officer pulled Ms. Pizer to break her grip on the door. The officer then put Ms. Pizer on the ground and continued to attempt placing her in handcuffs.
A police report filed after the arrest included an allegation that Pizer threw a drink at an officer's face. That allegation did not appear in the statement later offered to the media.
“Cop hits her like a football player”
Pizer's husband offered a different account of what happened on his wife's Facebook account on Thursday evening, based on the QuikTrip security camera footage that he was allowed to see by store management:
Video of the incident shows OFFICER Hernandez Talking to Patricia. He tells her to Walk away or be Arrested. She walks away and starts filming with her phone in Selfie mode. Cop runs up behind her and hits her like a football player. She leaves her feet and goes face first into the glass door of the gas station cop[.] then punches her in the head, Picks her up and slams her. AT NO FUCKING TIME DID SHE HIT THIS BITCH ASS COP. UGH!!!!!! Her teeth were on the ground. I actually found one on the scene[;] a piece of tooth. Blood as well [sic]
One part of the story that all parties appear to agree on is that Pizer turned on her smartphone's camera and began filming the incident. RHPD's statements do not mention Pizer's allegation to WBTV that the arresting officer "saw that I was filming him, and he came up to me, and he smashed my camera out of my hand, and it went flying."
Pizer is awaiting legal counsel before deciding whether or not to publicly release whatever video was captured by her phone during the incident. Pizer, a resident of Miami, has not indicated when she will return home; she was in South Carolina as part of a vacation with her husband.