Family of Georgia woman who died after falling from patrol car files $100M lawsuit

A Georgia woman was arrested, placed in a police patrol vehicle and then fell from inside the moving police vehicle. The woman, Brianna Grier, was a 28-year-old mother of 4-year-old twin daughters. Grier suffered significant injuries from the fall on July 15, 2022, and, after being in a coma, died days later at an Atlanta hospital. The family of Brianna Grier “have filed a $100 million civil rights lawsuit over her death Wednesday.”

A brief recitation of the background leading to Grier’s arrest discloses that her mother, Mary Grier, had called police authorities to her home in Sparta while Grier was experiencing what was described as “a mental health crisis.” Police had been called to the home previously to help Brianna Grier.  As reported, and as shown In footage taken from police body cameras, deputies are seen responding to a “visibly distraught and erratic Grier.”  A brief struggle ensued. Deputies are seen “carrying Grier, who is in handcuffs, by all fours.” Grier can be heard in the video telling deputies that she is not drunk. Grier several times asked the deputies to administer a breathalyzer test. As indicated on the video, “Grier can also be heard threatening her own life.”

Additional facts illustrated in the video show deputies placing Grier in the patrol car. As presented, “Less than a minute into the drive, the deputy operating the car Grier was placed in can be seen stopping the car, getting out, and walking a few yards back up the road to where Grier can be seen on the ground.” As reported by an attorney for the Grier family, “The impact gave Grier a fatal brain injury that left her in a coma for six days before she died. An autopsy showed Grier had multiple skull fractures and severe brain swelling.” Family attorney Ben Crump alleged that “Since she was handcuffed there was no breaking the fall. Her skull hit the road.”

Mary Grier was reportedly there when her daughter was under arrest and watched from the porch as the deputies took her daughter away. Mary Grier was critical of the treatment her daughter received from the officers. “They carried her like a log,” she said. The mother claimed “the deputies dropped Briana while carrying her to the car.” Mary Grier elaborated: “She wasn’t no animal. She wasn’t no bad person. She just had some problems she couldn’t control.”

After her death, Grier’s family and civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Sharpton, “demanded a full accounting of her arrest and subsequent death.” As reported, “In November, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced it had finished its investigation and turned its findings over to Ocmulgee Circuit District Attorney T. Wright Barksdale.” Barksdale  decided against bringing the case to a civil or criminal grand jury.

In a phone interview to The Associated Press, Barksdale stated: “What happened that particular night is an extreme tragedy. He added: “Based off of my legal opinion after speaking with the GBI and after reviewing the case file, there are no criminal acts that were perpetrated by those deputies the night Ms. Grier lost her life.”

D & B Staff

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Episode 81