A black woman has filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the Miami-Dade Police Department and the two officers she says violently arrested her after she called the cops for help last month.
Dyma Loving, a 26-year-old mother-of-three, said she called the police after getting into a verbal altercation with a white neighbor who threatened her and a friend with a rifle. But instead of getting protection, Loving was treated like a violent criminal: A now-viral video shows a Miami-Dade officer pushing her against a metal fence and putting her in a headlock before forcing her to the ground.
“I just want piece of mind that there is still someone I can call when I am in trouble,” Loving told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. “Right now, I have no one to call because I don’t feel safe calling the police.”
Her lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleges the two Miami police officers, Alejandro Giraldo and J.F. Caleron, wrongfully arrested Loving and deprived her of her civil rights when they reacted violently to her request “to make contact with her children.”
The two officers, Miami-Dade County, and the Miami-Dade County Police Department are all named in the federal suit.
“This lawsuit is seeking justice for myself, but more importantly for women everywhere. Black women, white women, and all women who feel like they are not safe from law enforcement,” Loving said.
Her lawyer, Justin Moore, added that they named all four parties in the lawsuit to address “the complete and total breakdown of the officers’ inability to serve and protect her properly.”
On March 5, the 26-year-old and a friend, Adrianna Green, were walking by the home of a white neighbor, Frank Tumm, when he allegedly began to yell at them.
“He called us hookers, called us racial slurs and suddenly he turned around and put a shotgun in our faces,” Loving previously told The Daily Beast. “He told me he was going to shoot my burnt black ass face off my neck.”
Fearing for their lives, Loving said she quickly called the authorities. But when the police arrived, they began to hurl questions at the two women instead of Tumm, the lawsuit alleges.
“The moment she was racially profiled after calling 911 due to her life being placed in danger by Frank Tumm; physically attacked and violently manhandled by the officers that she called for help; unlawfully arrested; falsely imprisoned and forced to spend 15 hours in jail; having to endure video of this violent attack going ‘viral’ on the internet, with some iterations having near 1 million views,” the complaint states.
In the video, Officer Alejandro Giraldo can be heard telling Loving she “need[s] to chill out or you will be arrested” before abruptly becoming physical.
“She needs to be corrected if anything,” one of the cops says off camera.
With the help of two other Miami police officers, Giraldo and Cameron can be seen “grabbing her by the neck, obstructing her breathing, whipping her by the neck and arms to the hard pavement, and drilling their bodies into her back while she was lying on the pavement,” the lawsuit states.
Loving said Wednesday that she’ll “never forget that pain and the feeling of having multiple people pushing me down on the hot sidewalk.”
After her arrest, Loving was driven to the police station and left in the squad car for four hours while waiting to be booked, she said. Finally, she was charged with two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence and held at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center until she posted $1,500 bail.
On March 14, Tumm was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to WPLG TV.
Five days later, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office finally dropped the charges against Loving, saying they “could not be supported by the evidence.”
Giraldo has been “relieved of his duty and his role as a training officer” with pay and is currently on an administrative assignment while the police department investigates the incident, Miami-Dade Police Department Director Juan Perez said in a statement.
Calderon remains on active duty, the police confirmed Wednesday, declining to comment on the lawsuit or the investigation, as it is “ongoing.” Both officers did not respond to The Daily Beast’s multiple attempts for comment.
The lawsuit claims the violent takedown injured Loving’s shoulder, arms, head, face, and legs, and made it difficult for her to “obtain employment and housing equivalent to people who do not have a criminal record.”
“We like to say we have magic as black women but we are also human beings,” Christina Roye, one of Loving’s lawyers, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. “And as human beings we hurt and I think it is important to see Dyma as a human being and not as a narrative of another unjust act.”
“This lawsuit is a message to say stop treating our woman as if they are subhuman,” Moore added.
The lawsuit is seeking prosecution and termination of the two officers, new guidelines to police training, and damages in excess of $75,000.
“Your uniform stands for something and right now keeping these men on the force shows that what they did to me was right. Nothing about what happened to me was right,” Loving said. “In my eyes, they just came to arrest some black people. Nothing about the approach was ethical. I had a gun pointed at me and they didn’t even ask me if I was OK.”