GRAPHIC: Family of woman who died after fall from patrol car demands answers
SPARTA, Ga. (WRDW) - The family of a Georgia woman who suffered fatal injuries while in deputies’ custody is demanding answers about her death.
The family of 28-year-old Brianna Marie Grier spoke Friday at a news conference regarding her death. Their attorney, Ben Crump, says law enforcement mishandled what was a mental health issue, not a criminal one.
Two Hancock County deputies were called to the family’s home in Sparta on July 15, where Grier was arrested, WRDW reports. The call came from Grier’s parents, who say she was behaving abnormally. Her family says she has a history of mental illness.
In the early stages of the investigation, it was determined that while deputies were taking Grier to the sheriff’s office, she fell out of a patrol car and suffered significant injuries.
Grier was pronounced dead from her injuries around 1 p.m. July 21 at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Her body was taken to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s crime lab for an autopsy.
The GBI’s regional investigation office in Milledgeville was asked to investigate the incident. New details were released Wednesday after numerous interviews, reviews of body camera footage and mechanical tests on the patrol car. In addition, GBI released the bodycam footage involving this case Friday.
Investigators concluded that the rear passenger side door of the patrol car, near where Grier was sitting, was never closed.
After Grier was arrested, the two deputies attempted to put her in the patrol car. Both deputies and Grier were at the rear driver’s side door of the patrol car. Grier was on the ground refusing to get in the patrol car and made a statement that she was going to harm herself.
To put Grier in the patrol car, one of the deputies walked around and opened the rear passenger side door. The deputy then returned to the rear driver’s side door, and both deputies put Grier in the backseat of the patrol car.
Investigators say Grier was handcuffed in the front of her body and was not wearing a seatbelt.
The deputies closed the rear driver’s side door. The investigation shows that the deputy thought he closed the rear passenger side door.
The deputies left the scene and drove a short distance. Body camera footage reveals the deputies had no other contact with Grier from the time she was placed in the car until she fell out of the moving car.
The GBI says the investigation remains active and is still ongoing.
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