Kare Romanski filed a complaint with the Citizens Review Board after alleging that a CMPD officer used excessive force, verbally abused her and wrongfully arrested her on Aug. 24, 2009.
Disabled by a chronic spine condition, Romanski said she was trying to park a sport utility vehicle at an east Charlotte bank when she noticed that a police cruiser left her little room to park.
Romanski, 51, of Concord, said she approached the squad car to ask the officer if he would move his vehicle. She knocked on the window but said she walked away when she saw the officer sleeping.
But moments later, Romanski said, the officer got out of his cruiser and approached her, saying, “Hey, what’s your problem?”
She also recalled him saying, “You women are the worst.”
Romanski, who stands about 5 feet tall and weighs about 105 pounds, said the officer forcefully grabbed her by the arm and slammed her against a vehicle. She says the officer held her arm so tightly his fingers left bruises.
“I’ve had 31 operations,” said Romanski, who uses a service dog. “I am freaking out, thinking he’s going to paralyze me.”
Romanski said the officer handcuffed her and she was taken to jail. She was charged with disorderly conduct. On Sept. 21, 2009, the case was dismissed, according to records Romanski provided.
Romanski said she hired an attorney to help her get the charge expunged from her record. A letter from her attorney shows the charge was removed.
Romanski said she was injured while being arrested and could not work as a dog trainer.
CMPD referred questions about Romanski’s account of the incident to Senior Assistant City Attorney Judith Emken. In an email response, Emken said that under state law police must destroy records related to expunged cases.
Emken said state law prevents the department from discussing expunged cases publicly.
Romanski turned to the Citizens Review Board after the CMPD Internal Affairs Bureau completed an investigation into her complaint. Romanski said she could not recall if CMPD disciplined the officer after the internal investigation.
She said the Citizens Review Board interviewed her for 30 to 45 minutes and later dismissed her appeal.
Romanski said she believes the board members did not take her allegations seriously. She alleges that the board members did not carefully review her documentation, including photos of bruising she suffered. Romanski said board members repeatedly interrupted her as she tried to explain what happened.
“I felt dismissed,” Romanski said. “This is one of the most devastating things that has ever happened to me. I thought I would be welcomed, like, ‘We’re here to listen.’ ”
Citizens Review Board Chairman Gregory West said he does not recall Romanski’s case. West said he is sorry Romanski is upset but said the board makes sure complaints are examined thoroughly.
“I can only tell you this: I make sure the person is given the opportunity to clearly state why the police chief or designee was unfair or incorrect,” West said.