ATLANTA - The Atlanta Police Department has fired a sergeant after a video surfaced on social media showing what police describe as the "sergeant kicking a woman in her head" after a week-long investigation.
Sgt. Marc Theodule, who had been on unpaid leave since July 6 when Chief Rodney Bryant and other commanders became aware of the video, was terminated on Monday following the results of the Office of Professional Standards' investigation.
"Based on a review of all the facts, it was determined Sgt. Marc Theodule’s actions violated department policy and he acted outside of APD standards and training. The decision was made to terminate employment of Sgt. Theodule on August 2, 2021," a statement made by the Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant on Wednesday read.
The video, which was posted to the Atlanta Uncensored Instagram page, shows a woman on the ground, on her stomach, in handcuffs. Another officer was seen in the video standing nearby. The woman appears like she might have spit in the officer’s direction and that is when she gets the foot to the side of her face.
Police identified Officer Bridget Citizen as the other officer in the video. The investigation found that she "did not violate APD’s Duty to Intervene policy."
"Our expectation is that employees intervene in on-going, active situations, in this case, the kick occurred one time and then ceased," Chief Bryant wrote. "It was also determined that Officer Citizen brought the incident to the attention of a supervisor, a short time after the incident."
The officer has since been returned to full duty status.
"I want our officers and the public to know that I do not take terminating employees lightly. But I also understand that the Atlanta Police Department must be held to the highest standards, and with that comes accountability when departmental policy is violated," the chief wrote. "Considering all the facts, I support the findings and recommendations made in this case."
The woman, Ashley Cooley, called for the police to be defunded. Her family said she is mentally ill and the police should have handled the situation differently. They called for both officers to be fired.
The Atlanta Police Department came under fire earlier this year after a handful of fired officers, including two charged with murder in the death of Rayshard Brooks were reinstated by the Atlanta Civil Service Board after a review of their case determined the department did not afford them their due process.
"We think the ultimate punishment, termination should happen. But the other officers we do believe there should be some strict punishment as well," Griggs said.
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