Rep. John Lewis: Video of DeKalb cop beating woman is ‘alarming’

Atlanta Congressman John Lewis said he found the recently released video of a white DeKalb County police officer beating a African-American woman at a gas station “alarming.”

The video of Katie McCrary’s Glenwood Road arrest, in which Officer P.J. Larscheid is seen striking her repeatedly with a baton, has been stirring outrage since it was published online. The DeKalb police department announced last week that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation agreed to investigate the case.

“I was shocked and appalled to see such violence towards any person — especially a woman known to have clear mental health issues,” Lewis said in a statement released over the weekend. “Considering the gravity of this situation, I appreciate DeKalb County’s prompt response and action. I requested an update from the DeKalb County leadership on this serious matter, and I look forward their response.”

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The internal investigation at the DeKalb agency initially found the officer acted appropriately in the June 4 incident with McCrary, whose husband said she has mental health issues. The officer said McCrary, who had drawn complaints asking people for money, set off the incident by trying to grab his badge. 

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Once the video surfaced this month, the investigation was reopened. And many began to call for the officer’s firing and prosecution.

Lewis, a Civil Rights icon, said he’s working on legislation that could lead to better accountability for police.

“We can, and we must do better,” Lewis said.

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In other news:

Video recently surfaced of a DeKalb County officer using his baton to hit a woman he says was resisting arrest inside of a convenience store in June. (Channel 2 Action News)

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