A report concluded that sheriff’s deputies never closed the door of a moving squad car that a Georgia woman fell out from, resulting in her death.
Brianna Marie Grier, 28, sustained severe head injuries when she fell from the moving police car during an arrest in Sparta earlier this month. She died six days after the 15 July arrest.
On Wednesday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations confirmed that Hancock County deputies failed to close the passenger’s rear door near where Ms Grier was sitting.
Ms Grier was handcuffed in front of her body and not wearing a seatbelt, GBI concluded after reviewing numerous interviews, multiple body camera videos, and conducting exhaustive mechanical tests on the patrol car.
“Automotive experts and the Georgia State Patrol also assisted with tests to determine if there were possible mechanical malfunctions. In conjunction with these investigative acts, GBI agents concluded that Grier was placed in the backseat of the patrol car, handcuffed in the front of her body with no seatbelt,” a statement by GBI read.
Ms Grier’s mother had called police after her daughter experienced a mental health crisis, her family said. The GBI report noted that Ms Grier refused the arrest and while on the floor, she allegedly made a statement that she was going to harm herself.
She was eventually placed inside the car to be driven to the Sheriff’s office, where she was to be held overnight before receiving medical treatment the next morning.
The report also noted that “deputies closed the rear driver’s side door … [and] that the deputy thought he closed the rear passenger side door.” Deputies reportedly had no other contact with Ms Grier from the time she was placed in the car until she fell out of the moving vehicle.
Ms Grier’s family has hired renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump.
‘’What this really is about is [Ms Grier’s twin three-year-old daughters], Maria and Mariah, who are going to have to grow up without their mother,’’ Mr Crump said during a press conference on Friday.
Mr Crump said that Ms Grier’s family had sought help from first responders in the past when she was having mental health crisis, and an ambulance always transported her to the hospital.
He said that although the call was not regarding a criminal matter, deputies said they were going to arrest Ms Grier for resistance.
“Well, a person having a mental health crisis … you can’t hold them accountable for their actions, [especially] if they have a docummented history fo mental health crisis,” Mr Crump said.
“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. 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,” Mr Crump also said in a statement to The Independent.