FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - A former Atlanta police officer who was caught on video repeatedly kicking and punching a teen suspect pleaded guilty Wednesday.
Antraveious Payne's mother said her son's behavior has changed for the worse. She also said he has headaches after now-former Officer Matthew Johns attacked him.
Payne told the court he is traumatized by the attack but still finds it in his heart to forgive Johns for what he did.
“I do forgive him for what he did,” Payne said.
Payne stood a few feet away from the former Atlanta police officer who kicked him, punched him and gave him a concussion after a chase.
Payne said Johns was way out of line that day.
“So, I do forgive what he did, but I feel like he should be punished for what he did,” Payne said.
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Johns pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, making false statements and violation of his oath of office in the attack on Payne.
It was in 2016 when prosecutors said officers began chasing a stolen BMW that then-15-year-old Payne and two others were in.
After officers performed a PIT maneuver, Payne got out of the car, and got on the ground and didn't resist.
District Attorney Paul Howard said Johns, who wasn't supposed to be at the scene, pounced on Payne.
“He went over and immediately kicked him in the head,” Howard said.
Johns then put his knee on the back of Payne’s neck, restricting his airflow. He was fired after his superiors saw the dashcam and body camera footage.
Howard said the case shows police officers in Fulton County will be held accountable.
“Because in this case, the criminal justice system did exactly what concerned citizens demand,” Howard said.
Payne said Johns' attack has changed his life.
“Because ever since the incident, I’ve been traumatized,” Payne said.
Payne is currently being held in the Cobb County Jail on stolen car charges.
The judge held off on sentencing Johns until his attorney can schedule a psychiatric evaluation. She said Johns may have post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I'm not a psychiatrist or psychologist, but I just don't think it has a lot to do with this case," Howard said.
Johns will be sentenced later this month. Prosecutors are pushing for him to serve at least two years behind bars.
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