Veteran game designer arrested after altercation with police
Industry crowdfunds legal and medical fees for former Disney and Turbine developer Patricia A. Pizer after alleged assault
A long-serving games designer has been arrested in South Carolina after an altercation with police that left her badly injured. Industry colleagues and supporters are raising money for her legal and medical fees after the incident.
Patricia A. Pizer has been working in the games industry since 1994, having developed games at Disney Interactive Studios, Turbine Entertainment and Ubisoft, with credits on a variety of games from Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force to Asheron's Call 2.
News of her arrest first emerged via Pizer's own Facebook account, where her husband posted his account of what happened. He relayed that Pizer was arrested after filming police arresting someone else at a Quik Trip gas station. While he acknowledged he was not on the scene, he said he had watched the station's security video of the incident.
Pizer's husband claimed in these early posts that he had seen the gas station's own video of the incident.
He said the footage showed that his wife "walks away and starts filming with her phone in selfie mode" before a police officer runs over and tackles her. This knocks her off her feet and her face hits the glass door of the gas station, after which the officer "punches her in the head, picks her up and slams her."
Pizer's husband says his wife did not hit the officer at any time, adding that he found her blood and a piece of her tooth when he visited the scene himself. He stressed that his wife is not confrontational, and has never been in trouble with the police before.
"The charge is a felony," he commented. "They are covering their asses because of how much damage was done to her."
GamesIndustry.biz spoke to the Rock Hill Police Department, who confirmed they did have Pizer in custody for "hindering police and resisting arrest".
An official statement from the department provides the police account of the incident based on the department's review of body camera and store surveillance camera footage.
The police statement reports that an officer arrived in response to a domestic incident between two parties described as a Caucasian male and female. While the officer was detaining the first person, Pizer allegedly tried to intervene by placing herself between the officer and the arrestee. The report says Pizer interfered by grabbing the officer and placing herself between them and those being arrested despite being told to step away.
The report goes on to state that the officer decided to arrest Pizer for hindering police, and describes what followed:
"The officer advised Ms. Pizer she was under arrest and Ms. Pizer stated she would not be arrested. Ms. Pizer walked away and the officer followed. The officer approached Ms. Pizer to place her in handcuffs when Ms. Pizer punched the officer in the head twice, and kicked the officer once. The officer then attempted to put Ms. Pizer on the ground, however she grabbed the handle of the door to the store. The officer pulled Ms. Pizer to break her grip on the door. The officer then put Ms. Pizer on the ground and continued to attempt placing her in handcuffs. A backup officer arrived and Ms. Pizer was taken into custody at this time."
The report concludes by saying that Pizer was treated by EMS for leg abrasions and a mouth injury which consisted of a chipped tooth, and has been arrested and charged with hindering police and assault on an officer.
Pizer's Facebook page has since been updated with a video message from Pizer herself, who seems to be out of police custody at the moment, and a further update detailing injuries found during a hospital visit. The post says Pizer sustained at least five broken teeth, a dislocated shoulder, several lacerations, a bruised hip, a skull fracture, and a concussion. In addition, she stated that she suffered burns to her wrist from her Apple Watch, which was damaged in the incident and pressed against her skin when she was handcuffed.
"They had an emergency vehicle but they had me in the squad car already and didn't give me further medical attention except putting this piece of gauze on my knee full of dirt," Pizer said in a Facebook live video. "I can hardly move my arm. I can hardly move my leg. I've got bruises all over my hands. The fusions in my back are really disturbed and I can hardly move.
"I guess this is what happens sometimes when you practice what you preach about looking out for other people, but I'm not gonna stop."
Pizer concluded by stating she would be heading to the hospital for proper medical attention, and then to see an attorney.
Industry friends and supporters have set up a GoFundMe campaign to cover Patricia's medical and legal fees. At the time of this post, the campaign has raised over $8,000 of its $10,000 goal.