An internal investigation into the DeKalb County Police Department has been relaunched after cellphone video of a homeless woman’s violent arrest surfaced on social media this week.
The disturbing video, recorded June 4, shows a DeKalb County officer mercilessly beating 38-year-old Katie McCrary with a baton and threatening to shoot her as she struggles on the floor of a convenience store in Decatur, Ga. Bystanders are heard yelling for McCrary to stop resisting as she uses her legs to kick the officer away.
“Get on your stomach!” the unnamed officer demands as he pulls out his baton and begins beating the woman in the legs, abdomen and head. “Put your hands behind your back!”
At one point, McCray appears to stop moving but is still beaten repeatedly.
“What did I do?” McCrary is heard asking after the scuffle. “What did I do wrong?”
The renewed investigation comes in response to the video going viral on social media over the weekend, according to DeKalb County police spokeswoman Sheira Campbell. An initial investigation into the matter “found that the use of force was justified” and the officer was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The department said it was initially unaware of the bystander’s video.
“It’s more we’re looking at the video to see if it aligns with the officer’s statement. Right now, what he put in his report is consistent with the video,” Campbell told The Huffington Post on Tuesday, July 11.
The incident report said McCrary was confronted by police after begging customers for money inside the store. That’s when she allegedly presented herself to the officer as a government agent and gave him a fake badge number. When the officer cautioned that she could be arrested for impersonating an officer, McCrary reportedly accused the officer of doing the same and then grabbed his vest, his badge and radio.
“Words were exchanged between the officer and McCrary, with McCrary subsequently assaulting the officer,” the police report stated. “She continued to aggressively resist the officer” commands, resulting in the deployment of the officer’s baton.”
The officer was eventually able to restrain and arrest the woman, after which she was examined by an EMS and taken the DeKalb County Jail, the report said. McCrary was later transported to Grady Memorial Hospital for evaluation.
The department noted that the officer filed a Use of Force Report following the incident. In his summary, the officer wrote that he administered “an unknown amount of baton strikes to [McCrary’s] left leg” and reported seeing a “1/2-inch laceration on her left shin and a welt on her left forearm.”
“I continued my baton strikes to her legs and forearms instructing her to stop resisting and to lay down with her hands behind her back,” he added. “One strike inadvertently struck the side of her head as she was moving around.”
McCrary was later charged with obstructing or hindering law enforcement officers, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. She was also given a warning for criminal trespass.
Customers who frequent the convenience store told local station CBS46 they know McCrary, and only one person described her as problematic. In this instance, customers said it was the officer who was in the wrong.
“Just to see what you showed me, that makes my heart hurt,” customer Tasha Marignay told the news station.
“I think something should be done about that officer. He should be dealt with.”