WASILLA — Wasilla Police will present their policies for use of force at a meeting with the Wasilla City Council about policing in the 21st century on March 16.
Wasilla Police arrested 25-year-old Tonisha Mahler of Anchorage at Walmart on Feb. 6 at 7:26 p.m. in an incident which was filmed and posted to Facebook. Desperate cries from Mahler as she was restrained by WPD officers sparked outcry over the use of force exhibited in the video.
“All use of force incidents involving any kind of restraint techniques other than just standard handcuffs gets reviewed,” said Wasilla Police Department Public Information Officer Amanda Graham.
Graham said that none of the officers involved in Mahler’s arrest that was later shared online have stopped working for WPD and that the internal review will likely be complete within the coming days. However, WPD will not issue a major incident press release following the arrest.
“This kind of incident isn’t that uncommon,” said Graham.
WPD received a report from Walmart that Mahler had begun “harassing patrons and damaging merchandise in the store,” according to the posted police dispatch. Mahler refused to identify herself to WPD and struck an officer in her attempt to flee. Once restrained, Mahler was taken to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center where she was cleared of injuries and later taken to Mat-Su Pretrial on one count of fouirth-degree assault on a law enforcement officer. Mahler was arraigned the next day and will appear in court for a pre-trial conference on April 12.
“This was not a major incident for us, it just happened to get caught on camera,” said Graham.