ATLANTA (AP) — An Atlanta police sergeant has been suspended without pay as officials investigate a video that shows him kicking a woman in the head while another officer watches.
Police Chief Rodney Bryant announced Monday that the unidentified sergeant was placed on administrative assignment. In a news release, Bryant said the sergeant’s actions “appear to be unacceptable” and leaders are concerned that the second officer didn’t intervene.
News outlets quoted police as saying they were responding to a report of a woman walking in a neighborhood south of downtown Atlanta and pointing a gun at people on Monday. Police say officers became concerned the woman was mentally disturbed and had her taken to a hospital for evaluation. No charges were filed.
The department says it’s expediting an investigation by its Office of Professional Standards.
“The actions of those in the video appear to fall outside our standards and training,” officials said in the release. “However, it is important for the Office of Professional Standards to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the facts.”
The video, recorded by a bystander, shows a woman handcuffed, lying on the ground on her stomach. Witnesses at the apartment complex where the confrontation took place say the woman spit on the sergeant’s shoes at least once and maybe twice. The video shows the sergeant kicking the woman after she makes a spitting motion.
Atlanta NAACP Vice President Gerald Griggs said he was “shocked and angered” by the video, saying the civil rights group investigated and contacted Bryant. The woman, who was not identified, is Black.
“At no point should a citizen of Atlanta be kicked in the face while they’re handcuffed,” Griggs told WSB-TV.
Conduct by Atlanta police officers went under a microscope after officers shot Rayshard Brooks in a fast-food parking lot in June, and before that when Officers Mark Gardner and Ivory Streeter were terminated for firing their stun guns at two college students during an arrest.
The officers’ dismissal was overturned in February by the municipal Civil Service Board, which ruled that city officials had failed to conduct a legally required investigation through the Office of Professional Standards. The officers remain charged with aggravated assault and simple battery.
In May, the board also overturned the firing of Officer Garrett Rolfe, who shot Brooks, ruling Rolfe didn’t have enough time to prepare a defense before an internal hearing. Rolfe remains charged with murder and is on paid leave. He is unable to return to duty because he is not allowed to have a gun or be around other officers under the terms of his bail.
Griggs said he wants to see the sergeant who kicked the woman fired and the officer who was with him disciplined.
“It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough,” he said of the sergeant’s suspension.