A woman’s encounter with an Atlanta police officer has gone viral on social media. According to the bodycam footage obtained by 11Alive News, the officer issued a traffic ticket to the woman and her friend for being in a park after hours. When she refused to sign the ticket, things escalated into a seemingly violent arrest.
“Angel simply wanted to know exactly what she was signing and asked for the officer name and badge number. At some point he became irritated by her questions. He then abused his power by using excessive force,” wrote the sister in the post’s caption.
However, in the video, the officer is heard telling the woman, Angel, and the man she was with that both of them had to sign off on the tickets or they would be arrested. Angel refused and the officer proceeded to pull her hands behind her back.
More on the incident from 11Alive News:
Bodycam video shows that after the man looks over the ticket and signs, the woman repeatedly asks the officer for his name and badge number.
“I don’t have to sign this right?” the woman is heard asking on the video.
“You do have to sign it,” the officer said.
She replied, “No, I don’t.”
The officer reiterated that if she doesn’t sign, she “will be physically taken to jail.” She replied, “Gotcha.” The woman asks for the officer’s name again, the video encounter shows. Tensions between the officer and the woman begin to escalate when he asks another time for her to sign the citation. She told the officer no and that she wanted his name and badge number again.
At the 20-minute timestamp of the bodycam video, the officer asked the woman to put her hands behind her back. The officer then grabs the woman’s arm with both of his hands as he repeatedly tells her that she’s under arrest, according to APD’s footage. The video shows the officer and the woman’s physical altercation going on for several minutes. The woman is crying and screaming in the bodycam video. The video shows the woman eventually agreeing to sign the traffic citation.
“I’m going to sign the ticket,” she told the officer.
“You don’t have that option now,” the officer replied.
There were mixed reactions on social media following the circulation of the incident. On one side, viewers said the officer used unnecessary force while handcuffing Angel.
“So unnecessary! @andreforatlanta & @atlcouncil how is this keeping Atlanta safe? This isn’t public safety? This is terrorizing the public by the hands of the police. This is why the jail is crowded. Cops are jailing folks for bruised egos. Give her the ticket & move on,” tweeted Former Atlanta City Council Candidate Devin Barrington.
The Georgia NAACP President Gerald Griggs said there was no need to use the “hands-on method” after Angel agreed to sign the ticket.
On the other side, viewers her initial refusal to sign was the reason the officer was justified in using excessive force. “The dude cooperated with the police, why she didn’t?? i don’t feel sorry for her. He gave her simple instructions and she had chosen jail. she should’ve waited until her court date to fight it!!” wrote another Twitter user.
The Atlanta Police Department defended the officer’s actions in a statement. “The officer clearly intended to issue a citation to each party and allow them to leave the park. Several unnecessary decisions, that were entirely out of our control, resulted in a physical altercation with an officer and the physical arrest of this individual.”