by Jack Burns, The Free Thought Project: Decatur, GA — Katie McCrary is, is a homeless woman doing whatever she can to survive. But while she may have a criminal history, she, like other law-breakers, still deserve to be treated humanely and with some sense of decency. But that didn’t happen, according to critics, when a Dekalb County police officer struck her with his baton nearly too many times to count.
Police were called to the scene of a local convenience store at the corner of Glenwood and Line St. in Decatur last month. McCrary had been propositioning patrons for money. Others say she’s frequently there and may have mental issues.
But when the unnamed DeKalb County officer arrived, McCrary allegedly pushed him and would not follow his commands. That’s when bystanders say he began beating her with his baton.
“Like one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, that’s excessive,” customer Calvin Smith said.
The incident happened on June 4, and a complaint of “excessive use of force” was filed as a result of the officer’s actions. The department investigated, and came to the following conclusion which exonerated the officer.
Upon the officer’s arrival, the female, identified as Katie McCrary, attempted to push the officer out of the way. The officer stopped her at the door and asked her to step back. Words were exchanged between the officer and McCrary with McCrary subsequently assaulting the officer. She continued to aggressively resist the officer’s commands, resulting in the deployment of the officer’s baton.
The officer was eventually able to restrain and handcuff McCrary. EMS responded to the scene to check McCrary. She was transported to the DeKalb County Jail and later to Grady Hospital. The officer filed a Use of Force Report on the incident.
“You can see that she wasn’t even resisting arrest. She was probably resisting the last few swings that weren’t caught on camera,” customer Craig Nelson said.
Predictably, the officer was allowed to continue his employment with the police force. But that was then. Since that time, new cell phone footage, shot at the scene of the horrendous beating, has come to light and the investigation into police brutality and excessive force has been reopened.
Just to see what you showed me, that makes my heart hurt,” customer Tasha Marignay said.
In an extremely rare move for any police department, the Dekalb County Police Department has reopened the case. The backlash the police force is receiving is likely very strong considering supporters and critics believe it to be a clear case of police brutality.
The officer struck her at least 13 times full force with his baton and even threatened to “shoot” her if she didn’t let go of his baton when she attempted to control his actions by grabbing his stick.
As a result of the video being published on social media, the police department has reopened its investigation and made the following 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.
The officer has yet to be identified, and this week, many believe he should not only lose his privileges as an officer of the peace but should be arrested as well for assaulting an unarmed mentally ill woman.
The whole scenario brings back 1960’s era images of officers beating civil rights activists with batons, shooting them with water cannons, and allowing German Shepherd attack dogs to maul them in the streets.
We at TFTP predict the internal investigation will conclude that while the officer’s actions were justified under departmental policies and according to the use of force guidelines set by the federal government, the officer will be suspended with pay for a short period of time. That’s what usually happens.