Georgia authorities on Friday released body camera footage of an incident earlier this month where a mother suffering from what her family called a mental health crisis died from a life-threatening injury while in jail.
Brianna Grier, 28, was going through a bout of mental health on July 15 when her mother called the police for help with the case, civil rights attorney Ben Crump said at a press conference on Friday.
Crump, who represents the Grier family, said Grier had a history of mental health crises and that the family had called the police several times in the past.
“When they came to the house, they would call an ambulance service,” Grier’s father, Marvin Grier, said. “The ambulance service was coming out and they were taking him to the hospital for help.”
“But this time they only called the police, and the police didn’t bring the ambulance with them, even though Mrs. Mary (Brianna’s mother) clearly stated that she was having an episode,” Crump explained. .
Crump said Hancock County sheriff’s deputies entered the house, handcuffed Grier and put her in the back of a patrol car to take her into custody for allegedly resisting arrest .
In body camera video released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Grier asks deputies to give her a breathalyzer test and repeatedly tells officers that she is not intoxicated. According to a timestamp on the video, Grier was placed in the patrol car shortly before 1 a.m. on July 15.
Grier then yells at the officers saying she will hang herself if placed in the car. They proceed to handcuff her and attempt to place her in a police cruiser, but when she resists further, an officer is seen drawing his taser.
When Grier sees this, she yells at the officers saying they can taser her and she doesn’t care. The officer responds by saying he’s not going to taser her.
The video shows the officer stowing the Taser and then walking away from the driver’s side rear door. When the officer returns, he is seen lifting Grier off the ground and putting her in the back seat of the patrol car.
Body camera video does not show whether officers opened, closed or had any interaction with the rear passenger side door, but one officer is heard asking another officer if the door is closed.
GBI investigators concluded Wednesday that “the passenger-side rear door of the patrol car, near where Grier was seated, was never closed,” according to a news release.
Less than a minute later, after officers drive away from the Grier family home, the video shows a police officer suddenly stopping his vehicle and getting out.
Once out of the car, the officer locates Grier lying on the side of the road, face down. Grier doesn’t respond to the officer, who pats his side and calls out his name. The officer then radios an oncoming patrol car behind him that they are going to need an ambulance.
The footage does not show the moment Grier falls from the vehicle, but does show her lying face down and the back door of the passenger car open.
The second officer says Grier is still breathing. Grier never responds to officers who call after she falls out of the patrol vehicle. The video ends with Grier on the ground as police wait for paramedics.
Crump alleges that police failed to strap Grier into a seat belt while she was handcuffed in the back of the police cruiser and as a result, when the vehicle began to move, she fell out of the car, landed on her head, cracked her skull and then fell into a coma for six days before dying from her injuries.
Investigators reviewed multiple body camera videos, conducted numerous interviews and conducted “mechanical tests on the patrol car” to determine “if there were any mechanical malfunctions” with the vehicle, the GBI statement said.
The GBI press release notes that two deputies were trying to get her into the back of the patrol car after she was arrested and handcuffed.
Grier told deputies she was going to hurt herself and was on the ground refusing to get into the patrol car, according to the statement.
The GBI statement said the two deputies and Grier, who was on the ground, “were at the driver’s side rear door of the patrol car” when “one of the deputies walked over and opened the passenger side rear door. “. The same deputy quickly returned to the rear driver’s side door, according to the GBI statement, and the two deputies put Grier in the back of the patrol car.
Deputies closed the driver’s side rear door and, according to the GBI statement, “investigation shows the deputy believed he had closed the passenger side rear door.”
In the video, an officer can be seen picking up Grier and placing her in the car through the driver’s side rear door.
Off camera, one of the officers is heard asking if the door on the other side is closed, to which the other officer replies yes.
Deputies left the scene of the incident and drove a short distance before Grier fell from the moving car, the statement said.
CNN contacted the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department for comment, but did not immediately respond.
“I just don’t understand why they couldn’t put her in a seatbelt, why they violated so many policies to prevent something like this from happening,” Crump said.
“We loved him regardless, unconditionally. Now we have to raise these kids and tell them a story, and I don’t plan on lying,” Marvin Greer told reporters on Friday. “I want to tell the truth, for this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”