Two Chico State students arrested by police, video goes viral


“Take her to jail!” Officer Steve Dyke of the Chico Police Department commanded as he pointed at Madeline Hemphill, knee dug into the back of her roommate, Nicole Braham.

Nicole Braham, 19, Chico State student. Photo credit: Lucas Moran

Hemphill was recording Dyke on her phone as he was arresting Braham for a broken license plate light. Both girls ended up in jail that night.

In their view, their only crime was challenging the ego of an officer with a desire for retribution.

How it started

The incident began when Hemphill and her roommate, Telvina Patino, observed Officer Dyke and another officer investigating a possible DUI about a block from their house. Concerned that the officer was being aggressive, Hemphill began recording the incident.

Officer Dyke ordered her to step out of the street and onto the sidewalk. She complied, but says Officer Dyke was not willing to let it go, according to Hemphill.

Maddie Hemphill, 21, Chico State student. Photo credit: Lucas Moran

“He wasn’t even paying attention to the sobriety test any more,” Hemphill said. “He was just focusing on me.”

Meanwhile, Braham had approached the scene in Patino’s car and saw her roommates. Patino entered the vehicle, but Hemphill did not for fear that the officers would retaliate against Braham by association.

The situation gets physical

Braham drove to her home one block down the street and attempted to park her car, but was cut off as Officer Dyke’s cruiser pulled up behind them.

Upon exiting the vehicle, she was blocked by Officer Dyke. According to a press release from Chico Police Department, Dyke instructed Braham to get back in the vehicle to which she told him she was trying to go home.

Afterward, Dyke yelled that she was being detained and to drop her things. “I took a step forward and he grabbed both of my arms, slammed them on Telvina’s car, rag dolled me around on the car and moved me to the police car,” Braham said.

Patino began recording the arrest (video above). Braham can be heard complaining that the officer was hurting her. “The reason that it looks like I’m pulling away from the police officer is because he was holding my fingers bent in his hand,” Braham said. “He was bending my fingernail.”

Dyke then twisted Braham’s arm, causing her to turn away and brought her down to the ground. The ensuing struggle gives the appearance of resisting arrest. “I couldn’t untwist my arm,” Braham said. “He moved my body. I just took steps to not fall.”

With Braham on the ground and in cuffs, Dyke turned his attention to Hemphill, who was recording on her phone and demanding an explanation for the arrest. Dyke commanded backup officers  at the scene to “take (Hemphill) to jail,” she said.

The press release further states that Hemphill resisted being handcuffed. She claims she was tackled into a bush.

What happened after the video

Both girls claim they were not informed of their charges until hours later when they were brought to Butte County Jail, nor were they ever read their Miranda rights.

“The only thing that sounded anything like ‘You’re being arrested,’ was ‘You’re going to jail, honey,’” Braham said.

Police laughed and joked about the girls’ situation, Hemphill said.

When Braham and Hemphill stated they were Chico State students, Officer Dyke replied “Not much longer,” according to Hemphill. The students were unknowingly taken to a holding cell, feeling left in the dark and fearing for their safety.

Differences between statements

Between the two accounts of the incident, Chico Police Department has no record of Hemphill’s phone at the scene. Both girls claim an officer at the station asked if police could keep the video on the phone as evidence.

“During the investigation, it was learned Hemphill had lost her cellular phone during the arrest,” according to the Chico PD press release. Officers searched for Hemphill’s phone at the scene, in the police station and in the patrol vehicle, but was never recovered.

Hemphill said that after her phone left her possession she received two emails regarding a password change on her iCloud account. She believes authorities attempted to change her password then, she was prompted to change it back.

The missing phone holds both the video of her initial confrontation with Officer Dyke as well as an additional video of Braham’s arrest, she said.

What happens now

Since this incident occurred on the morning of Aug. 27, Braham and Hemphill have posted the video of their arrest to social media in an attempt to prove that they were mistreated by police.

Both women believe that Officer Dyke acted in retaliation and they are seeking, at minimal, an apology for the way they were treated.

“What did they solve? Who did they help?” Hemphill said. Braham added that she no longer feels safe in her community.

Braham and Hemphill were charged with resisting arrest and are awaiting their day in court.

Lucas Moran can be reached at [email protected] or @lucasmoran141 on Twitter.