A white Atlanta police sergeant is out of a job after cellphone footage captured the terrifying moments where he dragged a Black woman from her car, slammed her to the ground and tasered her, all before punching her in the face. The woman’s 4-year-old daughter witnessed the brutal confrontation.
Following an investigation, the Atlanta police Department’s Office of Profession Standards ruled that Sgt. James Hines used an unnecessary amount of force during the arrest of Maggie Thomas, firing him, according to ABC News.
“Following its investigation, the Office of Professional Standards determined that the force used during the arrest was unnecessary and inconsistent with Atlanta Police Department training. Subsequently, Sergeant Hines was dismissed from employment on May 17, 2019,” a police statement read.
The brutal confrontation began on May 1. Hines reportedly went up to Thomas, who was sitting in her car with her child and began to question her.
“I asked Ms. Thomas if the car was hers and she said it was. I then told her that the car had no insurance and to make sure that she did not drive it,” Hines wrote in an incident report, according to ABC.
Hines then claimed that Thomas became “agitated” and allegedly said “There shouldn’t be a white officer harassing her,” before asking for the name of his supervisor.
Hines reported that he gave Thomas the name of his supervisor before leaving, but then decided to run Thomas’ name.
“As I got a block or so away I began to wonder why she became so agitated at my mere presence and ran her name,” he wrote.
He reportedly found a warrant on Thomas that was issued for failing to show up in court for a speeding ticket.
He went back to Thomas’ car, demanding to see her driver’s license, and from there the situation further escalated.
Hines claimed that Thomas was uncooperative when he tried to detain her.
“I then took Ms. Thomas to the ground and she still refused to give me her right hand. I took out my Taser and drive-stunned her in the back,” Hines wrote. “She then began to comply and I eventually was able to get both hands cuffed.”
He further accused Thomas of beginning to struggle again as he tried to escort her to her car, saying that she “bent over and bit [his] right hand.”
“I immediately punched her in the face and she fell to the ground,” Hines wrote.
In cellphone footage, Thomas’ daughter can be seen running away from the brutal encounter, crying in the background, as her mother is slammed to the ground.
The buzz of a Taser is then heard, as Thomas screams.
Thomas, for her part, said that she never bit the officer.
“For him to say that I bit him it just made me feel like he was justifying why did he physically punch me like that,” Thomas told the news site.
Thomas’ attorney Gerald Griggs, also took issue with the officer’s insistence when approaching his client.
“She wasn’t driving. She hadn’t been driving and he made contact with her twice,” Griggs said.
The attorney added that Thomas was arrested on a traffic warrant, which he said was issued in error, as well as disorderly conduct.
However, along with a statement regarding Hines’ firing, the department also noted that “a recommendation has been made to the City Solicitor that consideration be given to the dismissal of the charge against Ms. Thomas.”
As a result, all charges against Thomas were in fact, drooped.
Thomas said that the worst part of the encounter for her, was not being able to console her daughter in the moment.
The punch, according to Thomas’ attorney, still also affects her.
“She still has headaches. You can still see the bruising,” Griggs said. “She’s getting counseling for the traumatic effects of this incident and her daughter is getting counseling as well.”