Atlanta, Ga. – A federal jury convicted an Atlanta police officer of using unreasonable force while detaining a tomato theft suspect, and lying about the incident in his police report (video of fight below.)
Former Atlanta Police Sergeant Trevor King was convicted Dec. 8 for his actions while detaining a Walmart customer he accused of stealing a tomato in October of 2014.
Sgt. King was working as security at the Walmart when he and a Walmart employee both saw Tyrone Carnegay place a tomato on the scale to weigh it, then put it inside a black bag, and proceed to walk past the cash registers and to the store’s exit, according to the police report.
The surveillance video showed Sgt. King trying to stop Carnegay near the door, before Sgt. King took out his baton and repeatedly hit Carnegay.
“He’s giving a verbal command as he’s grabbing me, beating me, at the same time, saying ‘Get on the ground, get on the ground,'” Carnegay told the media.
It’s not clear why Carnegay refused to comply with the sergeant’s commands.
Carnegay said that he only went to the ground after his leg started giving out from being hit so many times.
In the police report, Sgt. King said Carnegay tried to reach for his gun belt multiple times. The video does show Carnegay’s right hand near the sergeant’s belt, although it’s not clear from the video if he’s grabbing at the belt.
The Department of Justice determined that Sgt. King wrote a false report to cover up his unjustified assault on Carnegay, according to WXIA-TV, and Sgt. King later admitted to falsifying his report.
Sgt. King hit Carnegay seven times with his baton, breaking two bones in his right leg.
Once Carnegay was on the ground, Sgt. King searched him and found the receipt for the tomato in Carnegay’s bag.
Patch reported that after emergency surgery at Grady Memorial Hospital, Carnegay was taken to the Fulton County Jail “to be held on King’s bogus charges,” which prosecutors said were later dropped.
Carnegay told WXIA-TV he was in the store to buy items to make a sandwich.
He said he noticed he had been overcharged for the tomato after he checked out and looked at the receipt.
Carnegay said he walked to the register to tell the cashier, but after seeing a number of people in line ahead of him, he decided to replace the tomato and go home.
Sgt. King was indicted on the charges of excessive force in July of 2016. He retired from the police force in January, and his trial began in July.
You can see the surveillance video of the fight below. NOTE: All versions we can find, including this one, have been edited to cut out what happened immediately before Sgt. King started hitting Carnegay.: