ATLANTA — Atlanta police are explaining why they say an officer used force while arresting a woman earlier this week.
A video that has since gone viral shows one angle of the arrest. Now, police are releasing the video from the officer’s body-worn camera.
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The incident began Sunday night when officers patrolling Shady Valley Park in northeast Atlanta noticed a man and woman in the park after hours.
The officer is seen issuing a citation to both the man and woman.
The man can be heard asking if he has to sign the ticket. He is then informed that if he chooses not to sign the ticket, he’ll be arrested.
The woman then comes over and refuses to sign her ticket. She asks for the officer’s name and badge number. He identifies himself as Officer Brooks and gives her his badge number twice.
When she still refuses to sign the ticket, he begins to arrest her.
“I know but I’m going to sign the ticket,” the woman says while resisting the arrest. ‘Put your hands behind your back,’” Officer Brooks said. “Mr. Brooks, I’m going to sign the ticket,” she can be heard saying.
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The video has been viewed thousands of times in the past 24 hours, showing the woman, identified as Angel Guice, trying to speak with an officer who was attempting to arrest her.
Just seconds later, she is thrown to the ground, and her hair wrap ripped off in the process.
“I’m so scared, my God,” Guice is heard saying in the video. The video was shot by her male friend whom she met in the park.
Guice is not speaking on camera on the advice of her attorney.
APD is standing by its officer’s actions. It said that it has recently increased its patrols in parks after three people were killed in two city parks within six days.
Since Guice was cited and initially refused to sign the ticket, APD said, “the officer may then physically arrest the individual.”
Police said “she began actively resisting his efforts. This resulted in a physical altercation as the officer attempted to place her into custody.”
“Just put your hands behind your back,” Brooks told Guice.
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Channel 2′s Candace McCowan spoke with retired Atlanta police Detective Vincent Velazquez, who says the video is hard to watch, but says signing a ticket isn’t an admission of guilt.
“Your signature is a guarantee that you’re going to show up in court, it’s your bond,” Velazquez said. “I would suggest anybody dealing with a situation like this, even if you think you are in the right, just sign the ticket then fight that fight another day in court.”
“Her level of resistance is only met with his level of force to combat that resistance to get her in handcuffs,” Velazquez said.
According to Guice’s family, she is out of jail.
Warning: The video below may contain explicit language which some viewers may find offensive.
APD released the following summary of what occurred during Guice’s encounter with Brooks:
The Atlanta Police Department(APD) is aware of video footage circulating on social media regarding an Atlanta Police Officer arresting a woman for being in a city park after hours. Upon learning of the incident, members of the APD’s Command Staff immediately began reviewing the incident to determine the facts surrounding the case. It has become immediately clear there is more to this story than the short social media video shows and the decision has been made to release the Body Worn Camera footage from the arresting officer.
Below is a summary of the incident with information gleaned from the police report and video footage. It is important to look at the footage in its entirety to better understand the entire incident.
Information to consider while reviewing the Body Worn Camera footage from this incident.
1. As part of the Atlanta Police Department’s efforts to address park safety and in response to safety concerns after the August 2, 2022, homicide in Wilson Mill Park and August 7, 2022, homicide at Rosa L. Burney Park, Atlanta Police Officers have been instructed to increase patrols inside city parks.
2. The officer in this incident conducted patrol inside Shady Valley Park at 2700 Shady Valley Drive in Northeast, Atlanta on August 8, 2022, at around 11:50 PM. The park closed at 11:00 PM. During his patrol, the officer encountered two people inside the park and attempted to issue both a citation for the violation.
3. For most traffic law violations and city ordinance violations, officers are authorized to issue a copy of charges and release the individual once they have signed the ticket. Signing the ticket is not an admission of guilt but is an acknowledgment of receipt of the citation and of the person’s obligation to appear in court or pay a fine. Refusing to sign a citation is considered reasonable cause to believe the individual will not appear in court or pay the fine and the officer may then physically arrest the individual so they can be brought before the court to post bond.
4. While issuing the citations, the officer explained to the male that he would be taken to jail if he refused to sign the citation and the male chose to sign the citation. The female was given the same information and refused to sign the citation, citing the fact she wanted the officer’s badge number. It is important to note the officer had provided his name and badge number to the female twice, the second time being only moments before she asked again for his badge number.
5. The officer explained what would happen if either party refused to sign the ticket and moved to place the female in handcuffs after she refused. The officer then attempted to place the female’s hands behind her back and she began actively resisting his efforts. This resulted in a physical altercation as the officer attempted to place her into custody.
6. No one wants to see a fight between an officer and a citizen, but a more in-depth review of the incident, using the body worn camera footage, shows the officer repeatedly ask the female to comply by placing her hands behind her back and the footage shows she refuses each time. The officer requested assistance and another officer arrived on the scene and the female was then placed into handcuffs.
To address several issues the female brought up:
a. An officer is not required to read someone their Miranda rights prior to arresting them.
b. The officer was wearing a mask and rubber gloves in an effort to keep himself safe from communicable viruses or diseases and was authorized to do so.
c. If an officer explains you will be taken to jail for something and you choose to push the officer to that limit, you will end up in jail.
In the end, this incident began as an effort to address issues in our city parks. The officer clearly intended to issue a citation to each party and allow them to leave the park. Several unnecessary decisions, that were entirely out of our control, resulted in a physical altercation with an officer and the physical arrest of this individual.
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