Newly-released video footage has prompted the reopening of an investigation into the forceful arrest of a homeless woman last month.
A police officer in Georgia was captured via cellphone repeatedly hitting a homeless woman with his baton while trying to detain her, HuffPost reports.
The DeKalb County officer is seen striking the woman several times and threatening to shoot her as they struggled on the floor of a convenience store.
The woman was reportedly unarmed; however, at times she used her legs to try to kick the officer. There is a point in the clip when she appears to be holding still before she continues to get hit.
Although the incident occurred in early June, the video footage was just released on social media over the weekend.
Warning: Content may be disturbing to some viewers.
Shiera Campbell, a spokeswoman for the department, said the reopened investigation comes as a response to the disturbing 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 HuffPost.
The homeless woman was identified as Katie McCrary, 38, who was allegedly loitering around the store and asking customers for money when the officer encountered her.
When he approached her, she allegedly presented herself as a federal agent, going as far as to provide a random badge number.
McCrary was purportedly warned that she could be arrested for impersonating a law enforcement official at which point she began to accuse the officer himself of impersonating a cop before grabbing his badge, vest, and radio which led to the struggle on the floor.
"Let go or I’m going to shoot you,” the officer can be heard telling McCrary when she grabbed his baton.
There are witnesses off camera who can be heard telling the woman to stop resisting and others pleading with the cop to not shoot her.
Apparently, the officer’s report detailed the scuffle in a way that coincides with what the video depicts. He admitted that he delivered an “unknown amount of baton strikes to her left leg,” noting that he continued to hit her legs and forearms when she refused to comply with his demands.
“One strike inadvertently struck the side of her head as she was moving around,” he recounted.
Once she was placed under arrest, McCrary was checked out at the scene by emergency personnel before being taken to the county jail. She was later transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where she received additional care.
Her injuries — according to the officer’s report — included a “1/2 inch laceration on her left shin and a welt on her left forearm.”
Before the footage was released, an internal investigation into the incident initially determined that the “use of force was justified.”
“The officer was cleared, following the Internal Affairs investigation,” the police department said in a statement. “Now that the Department has this new evidence we have reopened the investigation and will determine whether the incident is consistent with policy and the law.”
While McCrary may have been resisting, the amount of force used against her is questionable considering the size of the officer compared to her. It is plausible that the officer could have restrained the woman without the use of his baton. In the video, the strikes look more like a disciplinary spanking than an effort to subdue her.
Ultimately, the decision lies in the hands of the investigators; however, conventional wisdom tells us that the outcome is more likely to be in the officer’s favor than the homeless and seemingly unruly black woman whom they can demonize in order to validate the cop’s actions.