Atlanta, GA – An Atlanta police sergeant has been suspended without pay after cell phone video went viral on Monday of him kicking a handcuffed woman in the head for spitting at him (video below).
Another Atlanta police officer who was present has been put on administrative assignment while the incident is investigated, WGCL reported.
The video of the incident was posted to social media by @ATLUNCENSORED and showed what happened when Atlanta police officers responded to a domestic disturbance call at the Summerhill Apartments.
Atlanta police said in a statement that the incident occurred at about 12:30 p.m. on July 26 after officers responded to a call about a woman who was walking around pointing a gun at people.
Officers located and detained the woman and then called for an ambulance because they had concerns about her mental state, according to the statement.
Police said officers recovered an unloaded firearm at the scene, but no charges were filed.
In the video, a woman was lying on her stomach on the ground with her hands handcuffed behind her.
She spit at the police sergeant standing in front of her multiple times, witnesses told WGCL.
“She was spitting at the officer and then… she already spit at him once before, but it didn’t get on him,” the neighbor who shot the video explained. “So, she spit at him again and it got on his boots. And that’s when he decided to kick her in the face.”
The neighbor said she saw police kick the woman more than once, WGCL reported.
“They actually kicked her down the hill and she went rolling,” she said.
Neighbors said they confronted the officers at the scene after they saw them kick the woman, WGCL reported.
“We was like, ‘Why did you kick her?’” the neighbor recalled. “He was like, ‘I didn’t kick her.’ He didn’t even know that somebody was recording him.”
Witnesses told WGCL that the handcuffed woman was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital and that police later brought her back to the apartment complex.
Her aunt, Nell Gibson, said the family believed the woman was off her medication.
“Ashley has some mental issue problems,” Gibson told WGCL. “We thought she was off her meds because they say she’s been acting kind of off.”
Atlanta police released a statement on Monday night that addressed the content of the viral video and said the actions contained in it fell outside the standards and training of the police department.
“Upon reviewing the video, the actions of the sergeant appear to be unacceptable and we are also concerned with the apparent lack of reaction from another officer present during the incident,” the Atlanta Police Department’s statement read. “The decision was made to immediately relieve both employees from duty, with the sergeant placed on unpaid suspension and the officer placed on administrative assignment.”
The statement went on to say that the department’s Office of Professional Standards had opened an investigation into the actions of all the officers who were on the scene when the incident occurred.
Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant was monitoring the investigation and would use the findings to determine appropriate next steps for the officers involved, the police department said.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content:
APD were called to a Summerhill apartment for a domestic incident between a woman and another resident. The woman who was detained on the concrete face down was kicked in the face by an officer after she spat on his boots and pants. Do you think excessive force was used? pic.twitter.com/DQNsUKA63F
— Atlanta Uncensored (@ATLUNCENSORED) July 26, 2021