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January 13, 2012
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Video: Woman punched by LA cop on bus speaks out

'She's trying to pick a fight with anybody,' 911 caller said

By PoliceOne Staff

LOS ANGELES — The woman who was delivered a punch from deputies on board a bus is speaking out for the first time since video of the incident went viral.

Footage emerged Wednesday that shows Julie Nelson swearing at police officers and refusing to exit a bus. In order to restrain her, one deputy holds her down while another hits her in the face.

In an interview with NBC LA, Nelson said she was never physically aggressive, stating "I have never put my hands on a deputy — never." Insisting she "didn't touch him" because she "know(s) better," Nelson's actions were of enough concern for one man to call 911.

"She's trying to pick a fight with anybody, she almost hit an old man," the caller said. "She was talking about how she got out of prison and 'I'll beat up all you guys.'"

The incident drew criticism of deputies' use of force against a woman with special needs, a mental health status the media emphasized — and police say they recognized.

"She's noted for having verbal conflicts with people in the community, and she's been noted also to get in verbal conflicts with law enforcement," Sheriff Lee Baca said. "And she's assaulted on several occasions law enforcement officers."

After being detained for a mental health evaluation, Nelson was released onto the streets. She is homeless.

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