Ga. Chief Admits Officers Used Excessive Force


Two police officers are under investigation after dashcam video caught them using excessive force on a teenager.

It all began on East Ninth Street in West Point last month after 17-year-old Ciara Flemister began recording the arrest of her cousin. Police were arresting him after complaints of loud music.

The officer's dashcam video shows Flemister walking close to where officers had detained her cousin.

The video shows Flemister screaming, "Don't touch me, don't touch me. Get off me," as two officers wrestle her onto a patrol car. You then see an officer raise his elbow and then slam it onto the teen's head.

Seconds later, the video shows a second officer grabbing Flemister's hair and yanking her head down as she screams in pain. Flemister told Channel 2's Tom Jones that she doesn't remember much of the force.

"I just remember my face being slammed down into the car," she said.

West Point's Police Chief J.K. Cato called the force by both officers excessive.

"At that point, she was restrained and that blow was not called for," Cato said.

But the officers aren't the only ones accused of wrongdoing. Flemister faces felony obstruction of an officer and battery charges.

Police said the dashcam video shows the teen hitting an officer after she gets too close to officers arresting her cousin. Cato said that's why she was arrested.

"We don't care if you take pictures, but just don't violate the safety zone of these officers," Cato explained.

Cato said both officers were given written counseling and ordered to undergo additional use of force training. He said he thought the discipline was fair. Flemister's mother disagrees and is also not happy about the charges her daughter faces.

"I think they should be really taken off the force. Because he could have seriously injured my child. He could have broke her jaw," Julia Flemister said.

Ciara Flemister said no officer told her she was getting too close.

"He didn't tell me anything, he just grabbed my arm," she said. The video shows an officer trying to keep her back.

Her attorney, Jackie Patterson, also thinks she did nothing wrong.

"Absolutely nothing. Other than videoing the incident, which she had an absolute right to do," Patterson said.

Ciara Flemister said she's now afraid of officers. Her attorney is exploring a lawsuit. The police chief said the two officers are good employees who made bad decisions.

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