The Gwinnett County police officer seen in a viral video using a Taser during a woman’s arrest was fired Friday, the department said.
Officer Michael Oxford “violated (the police department’s) policy and did not meet our core values,” Gwinnett police said in a news release. He had been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation, AJC.com previously reported.
Cellphone video of the arrest, which was posted Wednesday to TikTok, has been shared more than 214,000 times and viewed nearly 20 million times.
Oxford, who is white, is seen trying to detain a Black woman in the video. A struggle ensues as he attempts to place her in handcuffs. He then pulls out his Taser and fires it once at the woman, who can be seen falling into some bushes in the front yard of her home.
Content warning: The following video includes explicit language.
According to a police incident report, Oxford responded to the home on Summit Creek Way about 7:30 p.m. in reference to a property damage call. The caller told police a group of people pulled in front of her home and threw a bottle at her car, getting some type of liquid all over it.
The incident was captured on the homeowner’s surveillance camera, which she later showed police, according to the report. She also told Oxford that one of the women involved threatened to “kick her son in the head” before going to a home across the street.
Oxford can be seen in the video speaking to a group of women outside the home across the street.
One of the women wearing a white tank top and pants appeared to match the description of the person in the neighbor’s security footage, Oxford wrote in his report. She was later identified as Aytra Thomas.
As Oxford approached, the group of women began shouting at him, he wrote, which made it tough for him to question Thomas about what occurred.
“The other people that were on scene with her continued to yell and scream at me, making it very difficult to speak with Aytra and further conduct my investigation,” Oxford wrote.
Thomas’ daughter, 22-year-old Kyndesia Smith, shouted at the officer, he wrote in his report. Oxford said he told Smith she needed to quiet down or move away from the scene if she didn’t want to be arrested on obstruction charges.
“I’m not going nowhere, it doesn’t matter,” Smith tells him in the video. “You’re on our property. We did not call you.”
As Oxford attempted to arrest Smith, he said she pulled away from him and stood behind her mother. A physical struggle began as he tried to take her into custody, he wrote.
Oxford said he discharged his Taser after Smith refused his orders to “get on the ground,” striking her in the right thigh.
“I then utilized (an) arm lock/leverage technique on Smith’s left arm in order to get the left arm behind her back to be handcuffed,” the officer wrote. As she was being placed in the patrol car, Smith reportedly continued to resist, kicking Oxford several times in the head, face and shoulder, according to police.
Smith was charged with felony obstruction and simple battery against a police officer, jail records show. She was released Wednesday after posting $5,900 bond.
In an interview with Channel 2 Action News, Thomas said she believed the officer’s use of force was unnecessary since he was never in any danger.
“Her side where the Taser went in is messed up,” Thomas told the news station. “Her neck, her back, my shoulder. It ain’t have to go that way.”
In the statement that announced Oxford’s termination, the department reiterated that there was “probable cause to arrest Smith for Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer and that the subsequent use of force was within policy.” The statement said Oxford was fired because he violated the department’s core value of “courtesy.”
Credit: Tik Tok
Credit: Tik Tok
“(The internal) investigation looked at whether proper de-escalation techniques were used, and whether Officer Oxford violated our policy based on the manner in which he handled the incident,” the statement said. “Our policy states that each member of this department shall consider it his or her duty to be of service to the general public and to render that service in a kind, considerate, and patient manner.”
According to Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training records, Oxford has worked for the department since February 2019 and has no disciplinary history. He graduated from Gwinnett’s police academy last August, POST records show.