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Bruised and traumatized, woman seeks justice after Norfolk traffic stop turns aggressive

Ebony Holmes press conference.jpg
Posted at 5:54 PM, Aug 30, 2021

NORFOLK, Va. - Ebony Holmes was pulled over and arrested by Norfolk Police in the early morning hours of July 5 after a traffic stop for speeding turned aggressive.

She was visiting Norfolk with friends, one of whom recorded the interaction that was shown to the media Monday afternoon.

"It just put me back to that moment, and it's kind of hard to actually just sit and talk about it. It's hard to see the pictures,” Holmes said.

Holmes was joined by her attorney, Amina Matheny-Willard, and community activist Brandon Randleman.

The traffic stop happened along the 1100 block of Tallwood Street, Matheny-Willard said. She added that at one point, the officer ordered Holmes to step out of the car. Holmes opened the car door, which hit the officer.

Matheny-Willard said she believes that is what prompted the officer’s behavior.

"Because of a speeding traffic violation,” Randleman said, “she thought her life was coming to an end."

They explained the officer then forcefully placed Holmes on the ground, which resulted in bruises. The bruises and lacerations were shown in pictures at the press conference.

"I just want justice,” Holmes said. “I don't want it to go on."

Matheny-Willard said she filed a complaint with the magistrate's office but was denied due to no probable cause.

She also described the attorney, “as much a public safety risk to the citizens of Norfolk as Derek Chauvin was before he murdered George Floyd."

Aside from the physical trauma, Holmes said the ordeal forced her to quit her job because she did not want to be around people. She added the incident also brought on paranoia.

"I've never been the paranoid type, but I'm paranoid now,” Holmes said. “If I see a cop and I know I'm not speeding, I still slow down."

The Norfolk Police Department told us in a statement, "The Norfolk Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards is continuing to thoroughly investigate the actions of the involved officers in accordance with departmental policies and procedures."

Holmes was charged with speeding and obstruction charges after the police stop. Randleman said they do acknowledge that Holmes was speeding and that her passengers tended to get loud but said they complied with the officer’s demands.

Related: Civil trial date set for Army Lieutenant's lawsuit over Windsor traffic stop

Matheny-Willard said they are getting ready for a court date sometime in November, where they will be fighting the speeding and obstruction charges.

"Everyone should be asking the City of Norfolk one thing: Full transparency and accountability,” Randleman said. “That's all we ever ask for."