Outspoken critic of Atlanta Public Safety Training Center accused of reckless driving, hit-and-run

ATLANTA — An outspoken critic of the controversial Atlanta Public Safety Training Center was arrested and charged last week after police say he stole a car and crashed it into multiple vehicles before running from the scene.

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A Channel 2 Action News exclusive story shows the moments Matthew V. Johnson, 33, of Atlanta was arrested and charged with multiple crimes, including theft by taking, reckless driving, and hit and run.

Jail records show he posted bond following his Sept. 29 arrest. Channel 2 Action News called his phone but the calls have not been returned.

On Tuesday, Channel 2′s Michael Seiden obtained exclusive traffic camera video that captured the moment a reckless driver in a stolen car slammed into multiple vehicles, injuring numerous people.

Johnson is also the executive director of Beloved Community Ministries, a local social justice nonprofit. The video showed Johnson running from the scene but police eventually caught up and placed him under arrest without incident.

Channel 2 Action News stopped by Express Oil Change and Tire Engineers, where Johnson was accused of stealing the Mercedes Benz involved in the collision.

Employees declined to go on camera, but they agreed to walk us through the surveillance from that morning.

An employee told Channel 2 Action News that Johnson was there to pick up his SUV, but they say before he paid for the work, he reached over the front counter and stole the keys to another customer’s car.


The video shows him paying for his own vehicle, but as soon as he walks outside, he hops in the Mercedes.

A manager tried to stop him, but he continued driving onto Moreland Avenue where he eventually crashed the stolen car. Johnson was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital before he was booked into jail.

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