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Georgia Police Officer Placed On Desk Duty After Video Shows Controversial Arrest

This post was originally published on this site
Georgia

A Gwinnett County, Georgia, police officer was placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation into the arrest of a woman Tuesday.

Cellphone video of the arrest was recorded Tuesday and posted to TikTok Wednesday. Since then, it has been shared more than 214,000 times and viewed nearly 20 million times, prompting the Gwinnett County Police Department to release a statement Thursday.

“The police department takes all use of force seriously,” Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Collin Flynn said, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “All use of force cases are administratively reviewed through the chain of command. An investigation into this incident is being conducted.”

In the video, White officer Michael Oxford is seen trying to detain a Black woman on a porch. After the woman, identified as Kyndesia Smith, tries multiple times to evade Oxford, he pulls out his taser and fires it once at the woman, who falls into bushes in front of the home.

Warning: The video contains violence.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Oxford was responding to a 911 call about property damage.

A neighbor told police that a group of people gathered in front of her home and threw a bottle at her car which left a liquid on it. The incident was captured on the woman’s surveillance system, which she later showed to the cops. The woman also told Oxford one of the women in the group threatened to “kick her son in the head” before going to a house across the street.

Oxford wrote in his police report that one of the women matched the description of the person in the neighbor’s security footage. The woman was later identified as Aytra Thomas.

As Oxford approached the house, the group of women began shouting at him, making him unable to question Thomas about what happened.

“The other people that were on scene with her continued to yell and scream at me, making it very difficult to speak with Aytra and further conduct my investigation,” Oxford wrote.

Smith, Thomas’ daughter, began shouting at Oxford, who told Smith she needed to quiet down if she didn’t want to be arrested for obstruction.

“I’m not going nowhere, it doesn’t matter,” Smith responded, as seen in the video. “You’re on our property. We did not call you.”

After a few more seconds of arguing between Oxford and Smith, he attempted to place her in handcuffs. Smith pulled away from Oxford and stood behind her mother, who was seated on the porch. According to Oxford’s report, a physical struggle began as he tried to take her into custody.

Oxford said he then pulled out his taser and fired, striking Smith in the right thigh after Smith refused his order to “get on the ground.”

Afterward, Oxford wrote, he “utilized (an) arm lock/leverage technique on Smith’s left arm in order to get the left arm behind her back to be handcuffed.”

Smith was charged with obstruction and simple battery against an officer. She was later released after posting a $5,900 bond.

In an interview with Channel 2 Action News, Thomas called Oxford’s actions excessive since he was never in any danger.

“Her side where the Taser went in is messed up,” Thomas told the news station. “Her neck, her back, my shoulder. It ain’t have to go that way.”

According to Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training records, Oxford has worked for the department since February 2019 and has no disciplinary history.

There have been a rash of incidents between Georgia police and Black residents this summer, despite the Black Lives Matter protests and the Defund The Police movement.

In June, Rayshard Brooks was shot in the back and killed by an Atlanta police officer after falling asleep in his car at a Wendy’s drive-thru. Later that month, a man filed a lawsuit against a Valdosta, Georgia, police officer for slamming him to the ground and detaining him after the officer confused him for a suspect.

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