Game developer Patricia Pizer was arrested in Rock Hill, South Carolina yesterday on charges that she assaulted a police officer while filming the officers with her phone. According to The Herald, the Rock Hill police department’s report states that Pizer assaulted an officer. Pizer’s husband, who says he has seen a surveillance video of the arrest, has come forward with a very different recounting of the events.
Pizer, 53, is a career game developer who started as a tester at the groundbreaking adventure game publisher Infocom in the 1980s. Since then, she has worked at THQ, Ubisoft, and Disney, where she designed the online service DGamer. She currently runs a consulting firm called Where’s The Fun Games. An outpouring of support has come from the game development community since Pizer’s husband Thomas put up a public Facebook post about her arrest and subsequent hearing.
The Herald reported that Pizer was at a convenience store when the incident occurred. She used her cell phone to film police officers who were arresting another person. Both accounts of the story agree that the officers then told Pizer to back away, but they diverge from there.
According to the police report, Pizer “threw a cold beverage in [the officer’s] face,” “took her right hand in a closed fist, and maliciously struck” the officer, as quoted by the Herald. Further, the report said that the officer “struck Pizer’s right forearm” and “foot swept” her to the ground during the altercation. She “struck her front teeth on the pavement and screamed in pain,” read the report.
In a public Facebook post using Patricia’s account, Pizer’s husband told a different story. He said he was not at the store, but had gone to the store later and viewed the surveillance video.
“He tells her to Walk away or be Arrested,” he wrote. “She walks away and starts filming with her phone in Selfie mode. Cop runs up behind her and hits her like a football player. She leaves her feet and goes face first into the glass door of the gas station cop then punches her in the head, Picks her up and slams her.” Pizer injured her arm and broke several teeth, he said.
Following her hearing, Pizer has been released from jail on $8,000 bond. A friend of the family has set up a GoFundMe for legal and medical expenses.
Update, 7:30 PM Eastern: Since the publication of this story, both the city of Rock Hill and Patricia Pizer have released additional statements and information.
The city’s statement maintained that, following a review, the incident was a “lawful arrest” using “necessary” force. “This review included viewing video footage from the officer’s body camera and store surveillance cameras,” it wrote. It said that it would not make the body camera footage public “at this time,” and that the store’s security camera video would have to be released by the store itself.