GBI closes investigation into Brianna Grier death

Nov. 9—SPARTA, Ga. — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Monday that it has closed its independent probe into the death of 29-year-old Brianna Grier.

Following the announcement, Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney T, Wright Barksdale III reiterated that he would not present the Grier death to a grand jury.

"The GBI has closed the investigation connected to the incident that led to the death of Brianna Grier in Hancock County," according to a press release issued Monday by Nelly Miles, director of the office of public and governmental affairs for the GBI. "We met with the family to inform them that the GBI case was completed and given to the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney, who decided against bringing the case to a civil or criminal grand jury."

Barksdale said the GBI had had numerous conversations with him throughout their investigation and that it was their opinion that they did not have probable cause to make an arrest.

"The representation that they have made is that they investigated this case and that they turned the case file over to the district attorney's office and left it to me to make a decision," Barksdale said Monday afternoon.

The district attorney said during a "spirited conversation" earlier in the day with Mary Chandler, special agent in-charge of the local GBI office, he noted that her agents often made arrests without conferring with his office.

"I said you have the ability to take out arrest warrants all day long if that's what you want to do," Barksdale said. "Basically, the stove is hot on this case, and as I told her, my point to her was that I am going to treat every case the same, which is to review the evidence and review the law."

Barksdale said he made his opinion based on the review of the case presented to him from the GBI's investigation.

"I reviewed this file and was very, very familiar with the investigation through the conversations I had with Chandler," Barksdale said. "When I say four or five, obviously, that's a guesstament. We had multiple meaningful conversations about what was ... their ongoing investigation."

The district attorney said he would not pursue criminal charges against either of the deputies involved.

"I am not going to convene a grand jury to look into this matter either because the evidence doesn't support me going in that direction," Barksdale said.

After reviewing an investigative filed from a law enforcement agency, Barksdale said it was up to him and the assistant district attorneys who work under him to ultimately decide whether to present a case to a grand jury.

Barksdale said he had not talked with the Brianna's parents, Marvin and Mary Grier.

He pointed out that Grier's parents had hired legal representation and that he had talked several times with one of the attorneys representing the family.

"I have presented him with a copy of the case file," Barksdale said.

The Grier family has retained the legal services of Benjamin E. Crump the prominent civil rights lawyer who has represented several clients in high-profile cases.

The Brianna Grier case gained national media attention after Grier fell out of a moving patrol car following her arrest at her parents' home in July. Her hands were cuffed in front of her at the time but she was not seat belted.

Grier, who suffered from mental illness came to her parents' home in hopes of talking with her twin daughters. She died from severe head injuries 15 days later at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

The deputies involved were Lt. Marlow Primus, the older brother of Hancock County Sheriff Terrell Primus, and Deputy Timothy Legette.

Bodycam video from one of the deputies was released publicly by the GBI showing deputies having a difficult time getting Grier into the patrol car. At one point, the video showed one of the deputies opening the passenger rear door of the patrol car.

The bodycam did not show either of the deputies going back and making sure the car door was closed and couldn't be opened from the inside.

Tests by the GBI concluded that the car door was functioning properly and could not be opened or kicked from the inside if properly closed. Law enforcement vehicles used to transport inmates are designed to work only with someone opening the door from the outside.

The GBI was requested to look into what happened following the incident.