Gwinnett County police announced Friday that the police officer shown in a viral video shocking a woman with a Taser following an incident on her mother’s front porch has been fired.
Investigators said they conducted a three-pronged investigation into the officer. They said they addressed concerns about the arrest of the woman, the use of force, and the conduct of the officers.
Police officials told Channel 2′s Tom Regan that it wasn’t the officer’s use of force or the arrest that led to the firing of Officer Michael Oxford, it was the way he conducted himself in the field.
The encounter quickly escalated as Oxford tried to question Kyndesia Smith about an alleged threat against a neighbor.
When she refused to cooperate and resisted arrest, Oxford pulled his Taser and shocked her. Smith then fell into some bushes.
When the officer tried to place the woman in the car, she head-butted and kicked him.
An internal investigation of the incident found that Oxford had justification for the woman's arrest and shocking her with his Taser when she resisted but investigators concluded that officer didn't follow de-escalation procedures and that his general personal conduct, including the use of a curse word, was unacceptable.
“Gwinnett County police officers have a duty on conduct to interact with the public in a kind, considerate, and patient manner. Based on the video, we do not believe Officer Oxford displayed the conduct we expect from officers in Gwinnet County,” said Cpl. Collin Flynn with the Gwinnett County Police Department.
The woman’s mother, Aytra Thomas, witnessed what happened and said the officer was aggressive from the moment he approached them.
“When he came up he said, ‘You all need to shut the f--- up,’” Thomas said.
She also said the officer shouldn't have used the Taser, especially while he was so close to her.
“I didn’t threaten him. She didn’t threaten him. She told told him she didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t have to talk,” Thomas said.
Here is the full statement released by Gwinnett County police on Friday:
“The Gwinnett County Police Department has received multiple inquiries from the general public over the past day in reference to the viral social media video of Officer Oxford’s arrest of Kyndesia Smith on August 18th. The police department has maintained that it would provide transparent information to the public in a timely manner. In order to do this, a three-pronged investigation was started that addressed the following concerns: the arrest of Smith, the use of force, and the conduct of Officer Oxford.
“The investigation on the first and second concern reflects that there was probable cause to arrest Smith for Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer and that the subsequent use of force was within policy.
“The third concern that was investigated was the conduct of Officer Oxford. The Gwinnett County Police Department holds its officers to the highest standards of conduct and integrity. Prior to the viral social media video being discovered, the conduct of Officer Oxford was already flagged by supervisors and an investigation had begun. That investigation looked at whether proper de-escalation techniques were used, and whether Officer Oxford violated our policy based on the manner in which he handled the incident. Our policy states that each member of this department shall consider it his or her duty to be of service to the general public and to render that service in a kind, considerate, and patient manner.
“One of our core values is courtesy. We strive to conduct ourselves in a manner that promotes mutual respect with the community and our peers. The investigation in this case has shown that Officer Oxford violated our policy and did not meet our core values. For this reason, the employment of Officer Oxford has been terminated as of August 21st.
“To further the transparency of this incident, the police department is releasing body-camera video to the news media. We hope that in doing this, it will show that we are committed to building upon the public trust as servants to the citizens of Gwinnett County.”
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