(ATLANTA) — A Georgia State Patrol trooper’s use of force is under review after he was caught on video allegedly stomping on a suspect lying on the ground.
Video of the confrontation was shared on Twitter and sparked public outrage over the alleged use of force. Georgia State Patrol confirmed to ABC News the video was from Sunday’s incident and said the video is part of the review into the officer’s actions.
The incident started at 5:37 p.m. local time on Oct. 3 when a trooper with the Georgia State Patrol conducted a traffic stop on I-75/85 North near Edgewood Avenue on a 2019 Dodge Challenger because the driver was not wearing a seat belt, according to state patrol.
GSP named the driver as Jamarco Lucas, 27, of Decatur, Georgia, who is currently on probation for assault and has an active warrant for his arrest in Rockdale County for simple battery.
Lucas initially stopped but then fled the traffic stop, launching a police pursuit. Eventually, Lucas exited his vehicle and fled on foot, officials said.
GSP said that the trooper saw Lucas leave his vehicle “with his right hand inside his waistband.”
The video appears to show the trooper chasing Lucas through a residential area. In the foot pursuit, the trooper deployed his stun gun twice, hitting Lucas once and he fell onto the ground, state patrol said.
The trooper said he observed a handgun fall from Lucas’ waistband during the foot pursuit, but didn’t see where it fell, authorities said.
When Lucas fell to the ground, he was given verbal commands to show his hands, but refused to show his right hand, according to the news release.
GSP said that the trooper was unaware if the driver was still armed and when Lucas appeared to attempt to get up again, the “trooper applied a foot strike to the center of the driver’s body and then another to the driver’s right-hand area, which appeared to still be in the waistband.”
Once the trooper saw Lucas did not have a weapon, he arrested him.
While putting Lucas in handcuffs, the trooper “observed a handgun laying on the sidewalk between his location and a bystander.” The trooper later retrieved the gun and escorted Lucas to his patrol vehicle, authorities said.
Lucas was charged with fleeing or attempting to elude; obstruction of a law enforcement officer; possession of a firearm with an altered serial number; reckless driving; speeding; improper lane change; failure to obey a traffic control device; driving while unlicensed; no seatbelt, GSP said. He was released to the Fulton County Jail.
Officials said that all instances of use of force are documented and reviewed by an employee’s respective chain of command, per Department of Public Safety policy. The review is incomplete at this time.
GSP did not name the trooper involved.
According to Georgia’s Department of Public Safety’s policy manual, officers are allowed to use physical strength to control a suspect.
Activist Scotty Smart told local ABC station in Atlanta WSB-TV, “I think that’s a clear case of excessive force.”
“We have someone on the ground already. There’s no need to stomp on him,” he said. “Stomping on him two or three times looks like an emotional reaction.”
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