SPARTA, Ga. (AP) — State investigators looking into the death of a Georgia woman who fell out of a patrol car after her arrest have concluded deputies never closed the car’s back door.
Brianna Grier, 28, suffered significant injuries as she was being driven to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office on July 15 and died from those injuries at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta on July 21, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a news release.
Grier was arrested after Hancock County sheriff’s deputies were called to a home in Sparta, the release says. Sheriff Terrell Primus asked the GBI to investigate after Grier fell from the patrol car.
GBI agents have concluded the rear passenger-side door of the patrol car was never closed, the release says. The GBI says the investigation shows the deputy thought he had closed the rear passenger side door, but the release does not specify how investigators know that.
The GBI release also does not say why deputies were called to the home or why Grier was arrested. Her family has hired prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who said in an emailed statement that Grier was taken into custody after a mental health crisis.
“Brianna Grier was a beautiful young mother who should still be alive. It is the responsibility of law enforcement to keep everyone in their custody safe and alive, including when there is a mental health crisis,” Crump said. “Brianna’s family had faith in law enforcement to get her the help she needed, and now they are being forced to grieve her completely unnecessary death.”
Crump said his team will investigate what failures caused Grier to fall out of the car while it was moving and suffer a fatal brain injury.
The investigation shows that as deputies tried to put Grier in the patrol car, she was on the ground by the rear driver’s-side door refusing to get in the car and said she was going to harm herself, according to the GBI.
One of the deputies walked around and opened the rear passenger-side door and then returned to the rear driver’s side door. The two deputies put Grier in the back of the patrol car and closed the rear driver’s side door, the release says. Her hands were handcuffed in front of her body and she was not wearing a seatbelt.
Body camera footage shows the deputies had no other contact with Grier from the time she was put in the car until she fell out of the moving car, the release says.
GBI agents did interviews, reviewed multiple body camera videos and did mechanical tests on the car. The investigation is ongoing.