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‘Unbelievable’: GBI Releases Footage of Hancock County Sheriff Deputies Forgetting to Close the Patrol Car Door, Shows How the Mistake Cost Brianna Grier Her Life

Authorities have investigated the recent death of a Georgia woman and determined officers were responsible for the fatal injuries she sustained while in their custody.

Bodycam footage released to the public revealed one of the arresting deputies was liable for demise because he failed to fully close the rear passenger door before leaving the scene of the crime in his car.

Around 12:30 a.m. on Friday, July 15, Brianna Marie Grier’s mother called 911, seeking support for the woman as she suffered through a schizophrenic break, possibly brought on by alcohol or narcotics. 

When Hancock County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the middle Georgia home, according to her father, Marvin Grier, the parents asked them to take the 28-year-old mother of twins to a hospital for evaluation.

However, after assessing the woman had been drinking, the deputies chose to handcuff her hands in front of her body, and place her in the back seat of the sheriff’s cruiser with the intention of taking her to jail.

Before law enforcement could reach the county jail, Brianna had thrown herself out of the vehicle in an effort to escape. Tragically, she suffered two fractures in her skull from the fall. The officers took the woman to some 100 miles to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, where she lay in a coma for multiple days before being pronounced dead on Thursday, July 21, at around 1 p.m.

probe into her death by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation discovered various ways the arresting deputies from the Hancock County Sheriff’s officer operated in negligence, including failing to put a seat belt on the handcuffed woman as she sat in the back of their car or close the rear passenger door before driving away from the parents’ house.

Agents reviewed a deputy bodycam, conducted interviews, and inspected the car before making a public announcement about the deputies’ liability in the case on Wednesday, July 27.

“To put Grier in the patrol car, one of the deputies walked around and opened the rear passenger side door,” a statement from the GBI stated. “The investigation shows that the deputy thought he closed the rear passenger side door. The deputies left the scene and drove a short distance. “

During the arrest, Brianna challenged the deputies and resisted arrest, despite being encouraged to go along with them until the morning by her parents. The Griers had hoped to take her to get the medical attention she needed. 

Still, Brianna adamantly resisted, telling law enforcement she would kill herself if they took her to jail.

On Friday, July 29, the GBI released the deputies’ bodycam footage after sharing it first with the Grier family.

The below footage contains very disturbing content:

“As a point of clarification to inaccurate reports, GBI agents have met with the Grier family in person on multiple occasions since July 15,” the agency shared, adding, “Agents have also had several conversations with the family, providing them with investigative updates.” 

The GBI also clarified reports suggesting the agency shared the woman’s criminal history with the public. Investigators stated the never released a 90-page report of Brianna’s prior offense with the law, and “have only provided investigative updates on this case as we’re working to learn what happened in Hancock County in the early morning hours of July 15, 2022.”

Standing beside his lawyer, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, Brianna’s dad said hours before the public release of the bodycam video on July 29 that the family is trying to get answers to what really happened, 11 Alive reported.

Through his tears, Marvin said on behalf of his wife Mary and his other daughter Lottie, who were with him during the news conference, “That’s all we want to know. We ain’t trying to start no problems.”

The lawyer said, “Yet again we have another African-American citizen killed in just an unbelievable way while in the custody of the police.”

“We won’t let them sweep your baby daughter’s death under the rug,” Crump promised the family.

Other social justice organizations have resolved not to let anyone sweep Brianna’s death under the proverbial rug. Gerald Griggs, the president of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, said he wants the HCSO to “be transparent.”

“It’s time to be accountable,” he said in a call of action. “To the governor, it’s time for you to recognize again that Georgia has a police accountability problem.”

Previously, the parents spoke out about their shock that police were dispatched over paramedics. Brianna had suffered from breaks before, and those medical professionals were able to give her the help she needed — and not criminalize her.

In 2021, a group of bipartisan lawmakers in Georgia recently released a report on the frequency of mental illness being criminalized in the state, proposing legislation (House Bill 514, also known as the Georgia Mental Health Reform Bill) passed to address the problem.

In addition to providing “supplemental state funding” to communities with mental health and substance abuse disorder treatment, the bill says the state should provide “funding to pay for increased crisis intervention training for local law enforcement personnel” and “Review policies and suggest changes to support crisis response instead of traditional/sole law enforcement response.” 

The Georgia Mental Health Reform Bill was passed both in The House and The Senate during the 2021-2022 General Assembly during its regular session.

Implementation of these changes is slowly underway.

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