The reaction is swift: He kicks her in the head. Watching from a few feet away, the officer appears to do nothing.
It’s not immediately clear who recorded the incident, which took place Monday afternoon. The person managing the social media accounts told The Washington Post that the person who recorded the video wishes to remain private.
The video was viewed tens of thousands of times on Monday and eventually came to the attention of the top Atlanta Police Department brass, including Chief Rodney Bryant.
By Monday evening, the department released a statement calling the actions of the sergeant and officer “unacceptable” and saying both had been relieved of duty. The sergeant was suspended without pay, and the officer was assigned to desk duty. The internal affairs unit has opened an investigation, with orders to quickly report its findings.
Monday’s incident is the latest in which police officers have been caught on camera doing things that have led to lawsuits and their suspension or termination.
In 2018, someone caught Miami police officer Mario Figueroa taking a running kick at a suspect’s head while the man was lying face down and another officer was handcuffing his hands behind his back. The video went viral and Figueroa — whose lawyer called the incident “a Facebook misdemeanor” — was charged with assault. A judge later acquitted him.
In Colorado, the April release of police body-cam footage led authorities to investigate and charge two Loveland police officers over a violent June 2020 arrest that left a 73-year-old woman with a broken arm and dislocated shoulder. The family of the woman, who has dementia, has filed a lawsuit against the city.
That was followed by a May incident in Idaho Springs, Colo., in which police used a Taser on Michael Clark, a 75-year-old man, without warning as he stood in his apartment. Clark suffered health problems, including a stroke and a burst appendix, and this week filed a lawsuit against the officer. The officer who used the Taser on Clark, Nicholas Hanning, has been fired and charged with assault.
In the recent case in Georgia, the Atlanta Police Department said Bryant will monitor the investigators’ progress, review their findings once they finish and then “determine the proper course of action.”
What was caught on video started as a call to police for help, the department said in its statement.
At about 12:30 p.m., a caller told dispatchers a woman was walking around and had pointed a gun at several people in a residential neighborhood south of downtown Atlanta. When officers arrived, they found and detained the woman. They then grew worried about her mental health and asked paramedics to take her to the hospital for evaluation, according to a police summary of the original call.
It isn’t immediately clear if the woman was treated for injuries after she was kicked. The department did not release any more information about her condition.
Police did not charge the woman with a crime.
The vice president of the NAACP’s Atlanta chapter, Gerald Griggs, told Fox 5 he was “shocked and angered” by the video.
“We’ve been talking about community-police relations for a long time in Atlanta, and to see something like that — a handcuffed individual kicked in the face — nothing justifies that.
“At no point should a citizen of Atlanta be kicked in the face while they’re handcuffed.”