Woman says sheriff’s deputy pulled her by the hair during traffic stop

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is investigating after a local woman said a deputy recently pulled her by the hair and and physically removed her from her vehicle during a traffic stop.

Shynita Phillips-Abu said she was driving home from the post office Oct. 1 when deputy David Lovejoy pulled her over along state Route 67.

“He told me, ‘I’m pulling you over because you have a third brake light out,'” Abu said in a news conference on Monday.

Abu said she started recording the stop with her cellphone when she got a call from her husband. 

“That’s when Lovejoy went belligerent,” she said. “He started to yell, ‘Get off the phone.’ He slapped the phone out of my hand and pulled me by my hair and yanked me out of the car.”

Abu shared photos with FOX 5 that she said were taken after the arrest. She claimed deputies told her she was being arrested for resisting arrest. She said she was taken to county jail but released without charges. 

“Seven to eight other cop cars on 67 south, they are blocking the freeway as if I had a dead body and drugs in my car,” she said, recalling the alleged incident. “They went into my car, searched my vehicle, did not find anything.”

Abu joined San Diego civil rights leaders Monday outside of the sheriff’s department headquarters to demand accountability for the deputy’s alleged actions. They are calling for the department to release body cam video and remove Lovejoy from patrol until an investigation is complete. They then want to see Lovejoy fired for the arrest. 

A department spokesperson said they are aware of the incident and are currently investigating.

Statement from San Diego Sheriff’s Department:

“We are aware of the incident. We have initiated an investigation into the matter. We have concerns, but want to gather all the facts before coming to a conclusion.”

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