A Georgia cop initially cleared in the brutal assault of a Black homeless woman inside an Atlanta-area convenience store has been indicted on felony charges.
On Thursday, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office announced charges against 29-year-old officer Phillip Larscheid, who was caught on video repeatedly striking Katie McCrary with his baton during a June 2017 incident. A grand jury voted to indict Larscheid on aggravated assault and violation of oath charges — both of which are felonies.
Footage from the incident forced prosecutors to reopen the use–of–force case involving the DeKalb County officer and was then turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for review.
Prosecutors said Larscheid, 29, was responding to loitering and shoplifting complaint at a Chevron gas station in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur when the chaos unfolded. He encountered McCrary, who was standing near the door, and told her step outside so that he could talk with her. That’s when authorities said McCrary pushed the officer away and tried to leave.
The woman allegedly told Larscheid she was a federal agent and read off a fake badge number, to which the officer warned that she could be arrested for impersonating an officer. McCrary, 38, shot back and accused Larscheid of impersonating an officer before reaching for his badge.
That’s when all hell broke loose.
“Words were exchanged between the officer and McCrary, with McCrary subsequently assaulting the officer,” according to the police report. “She continued [to] aggressively resist the officer’s commands, resulting in the deployment of the officer’s baton.”
In video of the incident, Larscheid is seen hitting the homeless woman with his baton multiple times as he struggles to place her under arrest. He repeatedly orders McCray to “put your hands behind your back,” but she refuses, and at one point rolls on her back to deliver a few kicks to the officer.
“Get on your stomach!” the officer shouts before whaling on McCrary with the baton once again. Bystanders in the background are heard urging the woman to “stop resisting.”
McCrary eventually complies, but that didn’t stop Larscheid from striking her a few more times. The assault left McCrary with several contusions to her body and a laceration on her shin. She was even hit in the head.
An initial review on the incident found the officer’s use of force was “justified,” and he was cleared of wrongdoing. The investigation was relaunched, however, after clips of the commotion began circulating on social media.
After its review, the GBI turned over its findings to the DeKalb DA’s office.
“We determined that the case warranted proprietorial action and presented the case today to the grand jury for one count of aggravated assault and one count of violation of oath of office, both felony charges,” DeKalb district attorney Sherry Boston said.
Police charged McCray with obstructing or hindering law enforcement officers in the incident. Prosecutors said they are no longer pursuing charges against her.
A warrant has been issued for Larscheid’s arrest, Boston said, and the officer has until 5 p.m. Saturday to turn himself into police.
Lance LoRusso, a lawyer for Larscheid, said his client is currently “considering his options going forward.”
“He was Officer of the Year for 2014 for the entire Dekalb County Police Department and has received more than nineteen commendations during his eight years with the department,” LoRusso said in a statement provided to WSB-TV. “He certified with an ASP baton in the Dekalb Police Academy and seven times after that during annual training. He is understandably deeply concerned and taking these charges very seriously.”
The county confirmed Thursday that Larscheid is still employed by the Dekalb County Police Department and has remained on desk duty since July 2017.
Watch more in the video below.