Reese Witherspoon might have hoped that an apology would be all that was needed to smooth over the scandal stemming from her recent arrest, but it may take longer for the public to move past it due to new leaked footage from that night.
In the footage, Witherspoon protests a police officer's orders and threatens to use her celebrity status against him. She warns him, “you better not arrest me,” as her husband, Jim Toth, 42, tries to calm her down. At the end of the video, Toth even apologizes to the officer for his wife’s behavior, agreeing that the officer was not out of line for arresting her.
Witherspoon, 37, who was arrested along with Toth on April 19 on alcohol-related charges, has apologized for her treatment of Atlanta police, saying that she is “deeply embarrassed.” But a police car dash-cam video of the incident, which went viral after it was leaked to TMZ on Friday, shows her behaving in a shockingly hostile manner toward the police officer who pulled over Toth.
In the police report, excerpts of which were published by Variety, Trooper First Class J. Pyland stated that he arrested Witherspoon after she disregarded his commands to stay inside the vehicle and refused to be quiet while he performed a sobriety test on Toth. Pyland reported that Witherspoon’s behavior included leaning out of the car window, loudly objecting while he attempted to conduct the investigation, and even stepping outside of the car and refusing to get back inside, and telling him that she did not need to obey his orders because she was “an American citizen.”
“Mrs. Witherspoon began to hang out the window and say that she did not believe that I was a real police officer,” J. Pyland wrote in the report. “I told Mrs. Witherspoon to sit on her butt and be quiet.”
The biggest shock, given Witherspoon’s Hollywood status as “America’s Sweetheart,” was Pyland’s allegation that the actress then asked him, “Do you know my name?” When he responded that he didn’t, she said, “You’re about to find out who I am … You are going to be on national news.”
Witherspoon is seen in the video making those remarks repeatedly, along with several other aggressive comments.
When she gets out of the car and attempts to prevent the officer from arresting Toth, he warns her, “Ma’am, what did I just tell you to do? He’s under arrest, if you don’t get back in the car…”
Witherspoon cuts him off, telling him that she is “allowed to ask any question I want to ask,” before protesting her own subsequent arrest, saying, “this is beyond … this is harassment, you’re harassing me, I am an American citizen.”
“You want to get out and get up in my investigation, that’s okay,” Pyland is then heard saying as he puts Withersppon inside of the police car. “Yes sir, I do,” Witherspoon answers. “Well that’s okay, we have a law for that. It’s called obstruction.” Witherspoon’s final comments on the tape are, “I’m obstructing your justice? Really? I’m being anti-American? Wow. Interesting.”
Witherspoon's husband then tells Pyland, "I'm sorry. I had nothing to do with that." Witherspoon was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct. In an interview on "Good Morning America," Witherspoon called her behavior inexcusable and said it would never happen again.
“I saw him arresting my husband and I literally panicked,” Witherspoon said, admitting that she said "crazy things," including telling the officer she was pregnant. She called the incident a mistake and said it was a result of "bad judgment."