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The family of a 77-year-old woman dragged from her car during a traffic stop by police in Texas says a formal apology and anger-management training for the officer is needed to make things right, NBCDFW.com reported.
Lynn Bedford's videotaped arrest has gone viral, sparking opinions across the country. The video shows Sgt. Gene Geheb pulling Bedford, of Cleburne, from her sports utility vehicle after she did not hand over her license and refused to get out of the vehicle.
Her granddaughter, Aubrey McQue, sought the video from Keene police and made it public.
"There was 19 seconds from when he first initially asked her for her driver's license to when he laid his hands on her -- 19 seconds," she said.
The video shows that the officer requested Bedford's license four times before telling her that he would take her to jail if she did not give it to him.
After Bedford told him, "Well, go ahead," he opened her car door, grabbed her arm and asked her to step out of the vehicle 10 times. He pulled her from the vehicle after she said, "I will not."
McQue said the officer's use of force was excessive.
"The video does speak for itself," she said. "Not once did she refuse to give her driver's license to him. She said, 'I'll give it to you in a minute,' and no patience was afforded to her. He controlled the entire situation, and he made it go in the direction it did. He let it escalate; he controlled that."
The officer said he stopped Bedford after he clocked her going 66 mph in a 50-mph zone. The family is not disputing the speeding citation but is fighting the charge of failure to present a driver's license.
McQue said her grandmother was speeding because she had a bladder infection and needed to get to a bathroom. The road her grandmother was on did not have a public bathroom in sight, she said.
McQue said manners and common sense on the part of the officer would have resulted in a different outcome.
"I know from experience from senior citizens and elderly people that they don't have to move faster," she said. "They take a more leisurely pace to do things, and that's the respect afforded them because they've lived so long."
Keene city administrator Bill Guinn, who has known the family for 30 years, said he called after hearing about the incident and offered to arrange a sit-down meeting with the police department.
The Bedfords have declined. The family retained an attorney but said they don't plan a lawsuit at this time.
"I feel badly for what happened, but that's the way it happened," Guinn said. "It's not the way we want anyone to feel about Keene or to see Keene. Keene is a great town, but there are these things that happen."
Sleepless and tearful
Bedford's family said this has never happened to her before. Since the video became public, her home phone constantly rings, and she hasn't slept. The family said Bedford is embarrassed, feeling like her life has been reduced to a video and Internet opinion polls about her as a person.
McQue said she was speaking on Bedford's behalf because her grandmother can't talk about the incident without crying.
"An apology would be nice, because she really is embarrassed by this -- that people think that she's a criminal. She's not a criminal," she said.
Keene residents said they have noticed that Bedford's arrest is getting national attention.
"I have people call me from Chicago, one from Michigan, so I'm getting phone calls from people wanting to know what's going on in Keene," Dan Roberts said.
He said that everyone in town has their own opinion.
"I watched the video, and I think she was wrong," Roberts said. "She should've handed over her driver's license and ID, and it would've been all over."
But Rachel Jessup disagreed.
"More are siding with her because she's a 77-year-old lady," she said. "People feel bad for her."
"He's a cop," she said. "You expect police officers to be rational and handle situations in a more mature way."
NBC 5's Amanda Guerra contributed to this report.
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