DeKalb County, GA – A grand jury indicted a police officer for hitting a homeless woman during an arrest almost two years after he was cleared of wrongdoing in the same incident (video below).
The incident occurred on June 4, 2017 when DeKalb County Police Officer Phillip Larscheid responded to a gas station in the 3300-block of Glenwood Road in Decatur for a woman who was shoplifting and loitering, NBC News reported.
DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston said the woman, identified as Katie McCrary, was leaving the store when Officer Larscheid arrived.
The officer asked her to stay and talk to him, but McCrary was uncooperative, NBC News reported.
"McCrary attempted once more to leave, pushing into and past the officer in an effort to go around him and exit the store," Boston said.
That’s when Officer Larscheid pulled out his retractable baton and "repeatedly struck Ms. McCrary across her legs, her arms, her back and once in the head," according to the district attorney.
McCrary was taken to jail but could not be booked in because of her injuries, so she was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital, NBC News reported.
She had a laceration on her leg and multiple contusions on her arms and legs that were "consistent with those baton strikes," Boston said.
McCrary was eventually charged with obstructing or hindering law enforcement officers and given a criminal trespassing warning, NBC News reported.
Initially, Officer Larscheid was cleared of any wrongdoing in the incident.
But a month later, video of the incident popped up on social media that called into questions the officer’s actions, WAGA reported.
That’s when the DeKalb police asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) to re-investigate the case.
The video showed McCrary down on the floor of the gas station’s convenience store fighting with a police officer who has ahold of one of her arms.
Officer Larscheid delivered several blows to McCrary’s legs as she kicked at the officer and tried to wrap her legs around his lower body, the video showed.
Initially, the officer appeared to wait for McCrary to comply between strikes.
The woman, who was reportedly homeless, continued to resist arrest and struggled with the officer as she ignored his commands to put her hands behind her back, the video showed.
Bystanders told the woman to stop resisting multiple times as McCrary continued to fight with the officer.
The officer briefly got the woman onto her stomach before she flipped over again and continued to fight him.
The video showed that Officer Larscheid responded by delivering a series of blows to the woman as she curled up in a ball.
Finally, the officer was able to get handcuffs on McCrary and take her into custody.
The video ended with Officer Larscheid marching McCrary to his police car.
The use-of-force investigation into the incident was re-opened after the cell phone video went viral, WSB reported.
GBI then turned its findings over to the DeKalb County prosecutor who took it before a grand jury.
“We determined that the case warranted proprietorial action and presented the case today to the grand jury for one count of aggravated assault and one count of violation of oath of office, both felony charges," Boston said.
The grand jury returned a true bill of indictment and Officer Larscheid was charged with aggravated assault and violation of his oath of office, WAGA reported.
The officer has been assigned to administrative duty since the second investigation began, according to WSB.
Officer Larscheid has been with the DeKalb County police for eight years and received at least 19 commendations during that time.
He was the DeKalb County Police Department’s “Officer of the Year” in 2014, WSB reported.
In light of the GBI’s findings, the district attorney said that all charges against McCrary have been dropped.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING - Graphic Content: