An investigation has been launched into the conduct of police officers who used batons and pepper spray to subdue a crowd of people upset over the arrest of a man accused of domestic violence, Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said Wednesday.
CopWatch, a police watchdog organization, shot video of Monday’s melee at the Edgewood Court apartments near the 1500 block of Hardee Street in northeast Atlanta.
Additional officers were called to the scene as residents surrounded 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 verbally harassed one of the officers on the scene while Jenkins jumped on the back of another.
CopWatch members interviewed Wednesday accused officers of provoking residents and challenged Turner’s claim that the Atlanta Police Department enjoys a “great relationship” with members of the community.
Kautz said he witnessed Monday’s 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 people protesting Monday’s arrests pelted APD vehicles with hammers and bricks, Turner said, leading to another 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 who showed up Tuesday do not live in Edgewood Court. Turner said no formal complaints have been lodged regarding Monday’s arrests.
Staff writer Angel Brooks contributed to this article.