Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said an investigation has been launched into the conduct of officers who used batons and pepper spray Monday to subdue a crowd protesting the arrest of a man accused of domestic violence.
A police watchdog organization, which shot video of the melee at the Edgewood Court apartments, accused the officers of provoking residents, while challenging Turner’s claim that the APD enjoys a “great relationship” with members of the community.
Additional officers were called to the scene as protesters surrounded the officers who, according to CopWatch volunteer Marlon Kautz, were seen by several witnesses beating the suspect behind a dumpster.
Turner said at a news conference Wednesday that the suspect resisted arrest and “went limp,” forcing officers to carry him to their patrol car.
An angry outburst followed, leading to the arrests of Cory Hill and Nakia Jenkins for obstructing law enforcement officers. Turner said Hill was verbally harassing one of the officers on the scene while Jenkins jumped on the back of another.
Kautz said he witnessed the arrests and never saw Jenkins jump on an officer.
“Police responded with direct violence,” he said.
The chief acknowledged Wednesday, “There was something that caused this situation to be different.”
On Tuesday, about 50 protesters demonstrating against the arrest pelted APD vehicles with hammers and bricks, Turner said, leading to one arrest.
Police retreated in hopes of de-escalating the situation, he said.
“We are continuing to reach out to the community,” Turner said, adding that many of the protesters that showed up Tuesday do not live in Edgewood Court.
But Kautz said the neighborhood has long been at odds with the APD.
“Everyone I talk to over there is terrified of the police,” he said.
Still, according to Turner, no formal complaints have been lodged regarding Monday’s arrests.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.