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Who was Brianna Grier? Bodycam footage released as schizophrenic woman, 28, dies after fall from cop car

Brianna Grier's family called police while she was suffering from an episode, but officers accused her of resisting arrest and took her into custody
Brianna Grier had been diagnosed with schizophrenia (Facebook/Brianna Grier and screenshot/Twitter@GBI_GA)
Brianna Grier had been diagnosed with schizophrenia (Facebook/Brianna Grier and screenshot/Twitter@GBI_GA)

Warning: Graphic content

HANCOCK, GEORGIA: Georgia deputies failed to shut the door of a patrol car while they were taking a woman into custody this month, resulting in her falling out of the moving vehicle and dying, state officials said in a report released on Wednesday, July 27. A disturbing video was released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Friday, July 29, which showed Brianna Grier's final moments before she fatally fell from the moving cop car while in handcuffs.

The 28-year old woman who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was taken into custody on July 15 while suffering a health crisis and died six days later after being in a coma. According to 13WMAZ, her family called police while she was suffering from an episode, but officers accused her of resisting arrest and took her into custody. The footage released by the GBI shows Grier yelling at the officers arresting her, insisting she is not drunk and saying, “I ain’t broke no law” and “get off me”. “You see if I don’t hang myself when I get in there,” she said while cops, one of whom had activated his stun gun, took her into custody. According to a time stamp on the video, Grier was placed in the patrol car shortly before 1 am on July 15.


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Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Grier family, said Grier had a history of mental health crises and the family had called police several times in the past. "But this time they only called the police, and the police didn't bring the ambulance with them, even though, Ms. Mary (Brianna's mom) clearly stated she was having an episode," Crump explained at a news conference Friday. "When they used to come out to the house they'd call an ambulance service," Grier's father Marvin Grier said. "The ambulance service would come out and they would take her to the hospital to get some help."


“If I had known it was going to turn out like this, God knows I wouldn’t have called [the police] to come and get her,” Mary Grier said. Brianna Grier had been in a coma since the encounter, her sister, Lottie Grier, told NBC News. But her ventilator was removed after a doctor told relatives that she was “brain dead.” “I just broke down and cried because it’s just ridiculous how she laying up there with tubes and pipes everywhere on her for no reason because it didn’t have to be that. It didn’t have to be that,” Mary Grier said. Now the family has questions about the officers’ claims and wants answers. “If she got out the car, they had to let her out the car,” Mary Grier said. “That’s my interpretation, because in a police car, you can’t open the door from the inside, it had to be the outside.” She’s right. Geoffrey Alpert, a professor of criminal justice at the University of South Carolina and an expert on police training, told NBC News in a text message that patrol cars are “ALWAYS supposed to be locked from the inside.”


The body camera video fails to show if officers opened, closed or had any interaction with the rear passenger side door, but an officer is heard asking another officer if the door is closed. Less than a minute later, after the officers drive away from the Grier family home, the video shows an officer suddenly stop his vehicle and get out. Once out of the car, the officer locates Grier laying on the side of the road, face down. Grier doesn't respond to the officer, who is tapping her side and saying her name. The officer then radios to an oncoming patrol car that is behind him that they're going to need an ambulance. The footage does not show the moment Grier falls out of the vehicle but does show her laying face first on the ground and the rear passenger car door open. The second officer says that Grier is still breathing. Grier never responds to the officers calling her name after falling out of the patrol vehicle. The video ends with Grier on the ground while police wait for paramedics. 

Mary and Marvin Grier were visited by Hancock County Sheriff Terrell Primus, and he told them Brianna was airlifted to Grady Hospital in Atlanta with a head injury. Brianna had two fractures in her skull and died because of those injuries. The case remains under investigation.