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Body camera video released in case of Georgia woman who died after falling out of a deputy's car

Brianna Grier's family called for help when she was having a mental health episode. She died after she fell out of a sheriff's deputy's moving car, officials have concluded.
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Georgia investigators on Friday released body camera video of an incident this month in which a handcuffed woman died after falling out of a law enforcement vehicle as it was moving.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, or GBI, released the video two days after it concluded that Brianna Grier fell from the passenger side door of a Hancock County sheriff’s deputy's patrol vehicle after that door was not closed.

Grier, 28, died of her injuries July 21 after being in a coma for several days following the encounter with sheriff's deputies that began at her family's home in Sparta on July 14.

Her family had called for help after Grier, who has diagnosed with schizophrenia, was having a mental health crisis, they said.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation has released bodycam video of the incident involving Brianna Grier.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation has released bodycam video of the incident involving Brianna Grier.Georgia Bureau of Investigation via YouTube

The agency, which is investigating the deadly incident, had said it would release body camera video after reviewing it with members of Grier’s family.

Family members and their attorney, civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump, have demanded answers about how it could have occurred.

The body camera video appears to show two sheriff’s deputies carrying Grier, who is distraught and appears to be handcuffed, by her arms and legs to a patrol vehicle.

A deputy at one point appears to unholster a stun gun and activate it while holding at his side, not pointed at her, and telling her to “get up,” the video shows. He then puts the stun gun back in its holster and the two deputies lift her and put her in the back seat of the vehicle.

The GBI has said that Grier was put in the car handcuffed with her hands in front of her body and no seat belt.

The video shows what appears to be the rear drivers side door being closed.

Neither deputy had any further contact with Grier from the time she was placed in the car until she fell out of the moving vehicle a short distance later, the GBI said. The deputies were in separate vehicles, the video appears to show.

After she fell, the body camera video appears to show the deputy who was driving her stop the vehicle, get out, and approach Grier who is face-down and unresponsive on the grass on the side of the road.

In the video, the deputy taps on her on the side as if to try and wake her, and says he will call an ambulance.

The video appears to show the second deputy saying she is breathing, telling her to sit up, and when there is no response he sits her up but she appears unresponsive

The passenger side door of the patrol vehicle she was in appears to be open in the video.

In the video released Friday, the second deputy asks “how's your back door open?”

That’s a question the family wants to know, too. Crump, who represents Grier’s family, said in a statement this week that they want answers.

“Everybody knows that it is not supposed to be possible to open a police vehicle from the back seat, especially when a person is in handcuffs,” Crump said.

“Brianna’s family had faith in law enforcement to get her the help she needed, and now they are being forced to grieve her completely unnecessary death," he said.

The GBI said this week that when the deputies were trying to get Grier into the patrol car one of them had opened the passenger side door.

The investigation showed the deputy thought he closed the passenger side door, the agency has said.

Grier's family also questions why law enforcement took her into custody.

Her family has said that she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and that she was on medication for the disorder. She was having a mental health episode and her mother called authorities for help at their home.

Crump said that in the past, an ambulance arrived to treat her.

“We’re trying to get answers of what really happened,” her father, Marvin Grier, said at a Friday news conference.

“That was my child,” he said.