The Georgia Bureau of Investigation released a video Friday showing a mentally ill woman being fatally injured after falling handcuffed from the back door of a moving police car.
The incident took place on July 15 in Sparta, Georgia, 100 miles southeast of Atlanta.
Brianna Grier, 28, was in a coma for seven days due to brain trauma before succumbing to her injuries at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.
Her family called the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office for help because Grier, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was in the midst of a mental illness.
The sheriff’s officers entered the house and eventually took Grier into custody and charged her with resisting arrest.
Grier’s family is represented by prominent civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, and it remains unclear how she could have fallen out the back door of a car that was supposed to be locked.
Brianna Grier, 28, spent seven days in a coma due to brain trauma before succumbing to her injuries at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta
After Grier fell from the car, she became unresponsive to the arresting officers who repeatedly asked her to sit up
Grier, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was in the midst of a mental illness when her family called 911.
According to WMAZ, the sheriff’s deputies wrote in their report that Grier kicked them before falling from the car.
The disturbing video shows Grier yelling at the sheriff’s officers and resisting his arrest.
At one point Grier says to the officers, “See if I don’t hang myself when I get in there.”
During the incident, Grier also tells the officers that she is not drunk and demands that they analyze her breath.
She said, ‘I’m not drunk, I haven’t had anything to drink. I didn’t drink anything.’
You can also hear the woman say, “I have broken no law” and “Get off me.”
Ben Crump, who represents the family, said Grier suffered a skull fracture after falling from the car
Grier was the mother of two 3-year-old twin daughters, Mariah and Maria
According to WMAZ, the sheriff’s officers wrote in their report that Grier kicked them.
Before Grier is hoisted into the car, a deputy sheriff takes his tranquilizer rifle from its holster and activates it. The deputy tells Grier to “get up.” He holstered his stun gun and then, with the help of his partner, picked the woman up and put her in the car.
Georgia officials said the mother of two was handcuffed and not wearing a seat belt.
Grier had two three-year-old daughters, Maria and Mariah.
The GBI said in a statement on Wednesday: “To put Grier in the patrol car, one of the officers walked around and opened the passenger side door.”
It continued: “The investigation shows that the deputy thought he had closed the passenger side door. The officers left the scene and drove for a while.’
Off camera, one deputy to the other asks if the passenger door is closed, the other replies “Yes.”
The video further shows that the two officers were in different cars.
The driver of the car Grier was in has been identified as Deputy Timothy Legette.
The door was opened by the other deputy on site, Lieutenant Martin Primus. His brother is Hancock County Sheriff Tomlyn ‘Terrell’ Primus.’
After driving a short distance, Grier fell out of the car. The deputy stops and finds Grier, face down and unresponsive, on a lawn close to the wall.
The deputy checks on her and says he’s going to call an ambulance. The other deputy says Grier is breathing and tells her to get up. She never responds.
Grier doesn’t respond as one of the officers props her up. Legette says at this point, “She jumped out of the car.”
One of the deputy’s cars is open. The other deputy asks, “How’s your back door open?”
In a press conference after the video was released, Ben Crump said, “Everyone knows it’s not possible to access a police vehicle from the back seat, especially if someone is handcuffed.”
He continued, “Brianna’s family relied on law enforcement to get her the help she needed, and now they are forced to mourn her completely needless death.”
Crump speaks at a July 29 press conference in Decatur, Georgia, about Grier .’s death
Crump joins Grier’s family in prayer after their July 29 press conference
Crump also said, “Again, we have another African-American citizen who was murdered in an unbelievable manner while being held by the police.”
The lawyer said Grier broke her skull when she fell. He said the family will conduct their own autopsy when her body is released to them.
At the same press conference, Grier’s father, Marvin Grier, said, “We’re trying to get answers about what really happened. That was my child. That was my child.’
Grier’s mother and sister, Mary and Lottie Grier, were also present at the press conference.
Earlier in the conference, Marvin Grier said that when they called 911 earlier, ambulances arrived to treat the deceased woman. She was on medication at the time of her death.
He said, ‘When they came to the house, they called an ambulance. The ambulance service would come and they would take her to the hospital to get help.’
Crump added: “But this time they only called the police, and the police didn’t bring the ambulance, even though Ms. Mary (Brianna’s mother) clearly stated she was having an episode.”
Since Grier’s death, there have been protests in the city of Sparta. On Wednesday, Sheriff Primus addressed a group descending on the offices of his department in the city.
He told them: ‘Many people have already drawn their own conclusions. Some people already feel like we have things to hide. But we have nothing to hide. The video footage will show evidence based on what has already been said,” he said the Union Recorder.