ATLANTA - The Atlanta Police Department's Office of Professional Standards is investigating one man's claim that an off-duty officer working security at a bar on Crescent Avenue beat him, punching him even after he was handcuffed and on the ground.
Todd Mitchell showed Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri cellphone video he said shows the officer hitting him several times outside Flip Flops bar in Midtown. In the video, Mitchell was heard yelling, "I'm not resisting. I'm not resisting," as the officer cuffed him.
The officer was heard accusing Mitchell of swinging at a cop before and then appeared to punch Mitchell.
The 23-year-old said he was celebrating a friend's birthday at the bar when a fight started with another group.
The officer told Mitchell to leave. Mitchell claimed he debated with the officer but eventually agreed and walked outside unescorted.
"A couple seconds later I was trampled. I was beaten; handcuffed and beaten," he said.
His friend, Shawn Lima, recorded the incident on a cellphone.
"He hit him so hard that it shut him up. He couldn't talk. His face turned to the side. It was horrible," Lima said.
According to the police narrative, witnesses in the bar saw Mitchell fighting and when the officer tried to escort him out, Mitchell became combative.
"So where's the dude I was fighting if I was fighting?" Mitchell asked. "I didn't start anything inside the club. I didn't come here to fight."
He also denied any physical altercation with the officer who eventually arrested him and took him to jail.
"At no point did I ball my fists up or lunge at anybody or do anything wrong," Mitchell said.
When Viteri asked if he pushed the officer, Mitchell said he did not. "You're given a certain responsibility to protect and serve," Lima said. "I didn't see him protecting anyone."
Atlanta police said in a statement, “The incident has been referred to the Department’s Office of Professional Standards for investigation. The officer has been placed on administrative duty in a non-enforcement capacity until the investigation is complete. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken for any violations of Department policy that are found to have occurred.”