Lawsuit: Man leaving Walmart beaten by off-duty officer over tomato

ATLANTA — A local man said an off-duty police officer working security for Walmart severely beat him after he was falsely accused of stealing a tomato.

After he was handcuffed to his hospital bed with a broken leg and severed artery, Tyrone Carnegay told Channel 2’s Craig Lucie he spent three days in jail and the charges were dropped.

In security video the officer is seen confronting Carnegay as he is walking out of the store. %



The officer is then seen suddenly pulling out his baton and then beating Carnegay for stealing a tomato, which he said he paid for.

“He’s giving me a verbal command. As he’s grabbing me, he’s beating me at the same time. ‘Get on ground.’ Beating me at the same time,” Carnegay said as he watched the surveillance video.

Lucie counted the officer striking Carnegay with his baton at least seven times.

“My leg started giving out,” Carnegay said.

He said the officer never asked for a receipt or told him why he was questioning him.

Doctors said the repeated blows cracked two bones in Carnegay’s right leg and ruptured an artery.

“I was chained to my bed in Grady. They said I assaulted him and obstructed him from doing his job,” Carnegay told Lucie.

According to a lawsuit Lucie obtained, the Walmart manager told the officer that Carnegay stole a tomato in the October 2014 incident.

Carnegay said after he was on the ground in handcuffs, the officer reached into his pocket found his receipt, which he said showed he paid for the tomato.

His attorney said this could have been avoided with one question.

“Somebody could have come up to him and said, ‘Excuse me sir, do you have (a) receipt for that tomato?’ and he would've shown him the receipt,” said attorney Craig Jones. “The officer went into Robocop mode and beat the crap out of him.”

Lucie contacted Walmart about the video and lawsuit.

A representative from Walmart said they had not been served the lawsuit but said, "We take the matter seriously. We will review the allegations and respond appropriately with the court."

“He found the receipt and money, and stood there like he hadn't done nothing,” Carnegay said.

Carnegay has a titanium rod in his leg now and walks with a limp.

Named in the lawsuit are Walmart, the manager on duty and the officer.

If the case goes to trial, it could take up to three years before it comes to an end.

The Atlanta police department told Channel 2 that they are “aware of a 2014 video between an off-duty Atlanta Police Officer and an alleged shoplifter at a Wal-Mart.  The City has not been served with a lawsuit and a complaint was not filed with the APD’s Office of Professional Standards."

APD is reviewing the incident.

Carnegay's attorney said there is no point in the video that shows Carnegay reaching toward the officer's gun.

APD says the video doesn’t tell the whole story.