A former Atlanta police officer was indicted Thursday for allegedly beating a 15-year-old after a police chase in 2016, Channel 2 Action News reported.
Matthew Johns was indicted on eight felonies, including four counts of aggravated assault, two counts of violation of oath by an officer and two counts of giving false statement, Channel 2 reported.
On Sept. 16, 2016, Johns arrived at the scene after a pursuit by Atlanta police and Georgia State Patrol in southwest Atlanta, Channel 2 reported. He was a member of the department’s elite Apex Unit at the time and was a former Marine.
Dashcam video obtained by the news station appears to show Johns jump out of his cruiser, run toward Antraveious Payne, one of the three teenage suspects in a stolen BMW, and kick him in the head.
He appears to hit the teen more than once, striking him on his side and kneeling on his neck before punching him in the head while cuffing him.
Johns told investigators he thought Payne was reaching for a gun, but the other officers on scene said the suspects never resisted, Channel 2 reported.
He was immediately placed on administrative leave, but the case stopped until Chief Erika Shields reopened it after taking office, the news station reported. On July 26, 2017, Jones was fired for using excessive force.
Zabora Brown, Payne’s mother, provided Channel 2 with photos of him after the incident, and medical records showed he suffered a concussion.
After he was fired, Atlanta police released this statement to the news station:
“The behavior by former Officer Matthew Johns exhibited on this videotape does not reflect the standards of conduct expected of Atlanta Police officers. His actions were unacceptable and — as a result — he was terminated. An additional three officers were disciplined because of other violations resulting from this incident, including disregarding our pursuit policy.”
After Jones’ indictment, Payne’s attorney Shean Williams sent Channel 2 a statement that said, in part:
“This indictment further proves what we’ve been saying all along — the officers who work for the Atlanta Police Department need better training, supervision, and discipline.”
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