Nicole Braham, the 19-year-old California college student arrested in August after recording Chico police at a DUI checkpoint in a video that went widely viral, attended a hearing last week, entering a plea of not guilty for the charge of resisting arrest, according to the Chico Enterprise-Record.
The newspaper points out that the judge in the trial, Kimberly Merrifield, is married to a lieutenant at the Chico Police Department.
Braham was arrested after Chico police officer Steve Dyke followed her and her friends home after they recorded officers conducting a DUI checkpoint.
Dyke claimed he followed them home because they had a burned-out license plate light.
But he never mentioned that until he violently arrested Braham.
Her friend, Maddie Hemphill, who was also arrested that night, has not been charged, according to the newspaper.
Original Story: August 31, 2016
However, with the exception of one news site, The Orion, none of those sites have mentioned the fact another phone that recorded the incident has gone missing.
That phone belongs to Maddie Hemphill and not only contains footage of Chico police officer Steve Dyke arresting her friend Nicole Braham, but it also contains footage from moments earlier when Hemphill was recording the officer making a DUI stop about a block from their home.
It is that stop that led to Dyke following them home after his DUI stop.
Dyke claims he followed them home because the car driven by Braham had a burned-out license plate light.
But both women believe the stop was in retaliation from having the gall to record him in public.
The truth probably lies in Hemphill’s missing phone, but that went missing after Dyke ordered her arrested seconds after she informed him she was recording him.
“Officer, you are being videotaped. What did she do?” Hemphill can be heard saying.
“Take her to jail,” Dyke then tells another officer who just arrived on the scene.
Hemphill says an officer then tackled her into a bush and she was arrested, but that part is not seen on the existing video that was recorded by another friend, Telvina Patino.
In a press release on its Facebook page, Chico police claimed they have no idea what became of the phone.
However, Hemphill says somebody has been trying to access it since her arrest.
Between the two accounts of the incident, Chico Police Department has no record of Hemphill’s phone at the scene. Both girls claim an officer at the station asked if police could keep the video on the phone as evidence.
“During the investigation, it was learned Hemphill had lost her cellular phone during the arrest,” according to the Chico PD press release. Officers searched for Hemphill’s phone at the scene, in the police station and in the patrol vehicle, but was never recovered.
Hemphill said that after her phone left her possession she received two emails regarding a password change on her iCloud account. She believes authorities attempted to change her password then, she was prompted to change it back.
The missing phone holds both the video of her initial confrontation with Officer Dyke as well as an additional video of Braham’s arrest, she said.
Chico police did not arrest Patino, stating on their Facebook page that she did not hinder the safety of the officers as she was recording.
However, they say Hemphill had to be arrested for “officer safety purposes.”
Remember, this is a woman who informed Dyke he was being recorded before asking him why her friend was being arrested before she, herself, was arrested.
Patino, on the other hand, never informed Dyke he was being recorded. Instead, she was confronted by a cop who was not nearly as aggressive as Dyke and even seem confused as to why her friends were being arrested.
That cop did not seem to have the same anger management issues that Dyke has.
By the time Dyke stops abusing Braham, he walks up to Patino and informs her of the burned-out license plate light, which is the first time he informed them of this.
Patino provided the Orion of a longer video of the incident than she had initially posted on Facebook, which is posted below, allowing us to hear an additional five minutes of footage, which includes even more arrogant, condescending remarks from Dyke.
You can just hear it in his tone and at one point, Patino, who is crying, askswhy he thinks it’s so funny after he says her friends are going to jail.
The cops continued to mock the girls after they were arrested, according to the Orion.
Police laughed and joked about the girls’ situation, Hemphill said.
When Braham and Hemphill stated they were Chico State students, Officer Dyke replied “Not much longer,” according to Hemphill.
The students were unknowingly taken to a holding cell, feeling left in the dark and fearing for their safety.
It’s little wonder the cops find it so funny that they were able to exert their authority on a couple of college women who tried to record them considering the showering of support they received on their Facebook page after posting their press release.
The press release states that they asked Hemphill three times to get off the street while recording them during the initial DUI traffic stop, but Hemphill told the Orion she complied after the first request.
And seeing how he reacted to a burned-out license plate light, it is not hard to believe he was being aggressive towards that driver.
What is hard to believe is how a phone can just go missing seconds after a cop is informed he is being recorded.