Law enforcement officials in DeKalb County, GA, have reopened an investigation into an officer who was filmed repeatedly striking a homeless woman with a police baton.
The incident occurred at a local gas station on June 4, when police were called over reports that a woman, later identified as Katie McCrary, had been panhandling inside the store. According to an police report obtained by CNN on Tuesday, the unidentified officer at the scene claimed that McCrary “attempted to push me out of the way and walk out of the door,” and proceeded to grab at his vest, claiming, at one point, to be a federal law enforcement agent herself. Local CBS affiliate WGCL reported that McCrary was a regular fixture at the store, and was known to suffer from mental illness.
“She’s not mentally there,” one customer who witnessed the incident told the station.
Cellphone footage of the arrest shows the officer repeatedly striking McCrary with his baton across her arms and legs. Per the police report, “one strike inadvertently struck the side of her head as she was moving around.” In the footage, onlookers can be heard urging McCrary to “stop resisting,” as the officer continues to hit her. As the officer cuffs McCrary, she repeatedly asks, “What did I do?”
Warning, this footage may be difficult to watch:
In a statement, the DeKalb County Police Department said:
Upon the officer’s arrival, the female, identified as Katie McCrary, attempted to push the officer out of the way. The officer stopped her at the door and asked her to step back. Words were exchanged between the officer and McCrary with McCrary subsequently assaulting the officer. She continued to aggressively resist the officer’s commands, resulting in the deployment of the officer’s baton.
The officer was eventually able to restrain and handcuff McCrary. EMS responded to the scene to check McCrary. She was transported to the DeKalb County Jail and later to Grady Hospital. The officer filed a Use of Force Report on the incident.
However, upon the release of this new bystander footage, the department has decided to review the arrest, telling WGCL: “We have reopened the investigation and will determine whether the incident is consistent with policy and the law.”
McCrary was reportedly charged with obstruction and hindering a law enforcement officer, and was issued a criminal trespass warning. She is currently in jail on unrelated charges.
For some customers at the gas station where McCrary was arrested, however, the incident has left a lasting impression.
“I think something should be done about that officer,” one person told WGCL. “He should be dealt with.”