Body-cam footage released in death of woman who fell from patrol car

·5 min read

Georgia investigators have released body-camera footage in connection with a woman who died after she was taken into custody and fell out of a moving police patrol car earlier this month, as her family is demanding answers in her death.

Brianna Grier, 28, was taken into custody on July 15 after two Hancock County Sheriff's Office responded to a home in Sparta, Georgia, authorities said.

Her mother had called 911 because her daughter was having a mental health crisis, according to civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family.

PHOTO: Attorney Ben Crump speaks at a news conference regarding the death of Brianna Grier on July 29, 2022, in Decatur, Ga. (Ron Harris/AP)
PHOTO: Attorney Ben Crump speaks at a news conference regarding the death of Brianna Grier on July 29, 2022, in Decatur, Ga. (Ron Harris/AP)

While being transported to the sheriff's office, Grier fell out of a patrol car and sustained "significant injuries," the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), which is investigating the death, said in a statement.

Grier suffered brain trauma and was in a coma before she died on July 21, according to Crump.

"Yet again, we have another African American citizen killed in just an unbelievable way while in the custody of the police," Crump said during a press briefing Friday.

MORE: Woman dies after falling out of police car while in custody

The briefing comes two days after GBI released new details in the incident.

According to GBI, Grier was placed in the backseat of the patrol car while handcuffed with no seatbelt on. The rear passenger side door was never closed before they drove away, GBI said.

Before the deputies placed her in the car, Gier was on the ground "refusing to get in the patrol car" and "made a statement that she was going to harm herself," GBI said.

Both the rear driver's side door and rear passenger side door were open while the deputies put Grier in the backseat, but they only closed the rear driver's side door before leaving the scene and driving a short distance, GBI said.

"The investigation shows that the deputy thought he closed the rear passenger side door," GBI said. "Body camera footage reveals the deputies had no other contact with Grier from the time she was placed in the car until she fell out of the moving car."

PHOTO: Attorney Ben Crump, second from right, joins in prayer with the family of Brianna Grier on July 29, 2022, in Decatur, Ga. (Ron Harris/AP)
PHOTO: Attorney Ben Crump, second from right, joins in prayer with the family of Brianna Grier on July 29, 2022, in Decatur, Ga. (Ron Harris/AP)

The family called for more transparency as they try to make sense of what happened, including the release of the body-camera footage.

"We're trying to get answers of what really happened, that's all we want to know," Grier's father, Marvin Grier, said during Friday's press event. "We want to know what happened."

"That was my child," he continued. "That was my child."

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Later on Friday, GBI released body-camera footage in connection with the incident, though the video doesn't show how Grier ended up outside the patrol car.

The 10-minute clip shows the deputies struggling to get a distraught Grier into the patrol car.

A deputy, identified by GBI on Saturday as Deputy Timothy Legette, can be seen on his bodycam footage pulling over and walking back to Grier, who was lying face down on the ground on the side of the road. The deputy taps her a few times and says her name.

A second deputy who was trailing the patrol car walks over and remarks that she is still breathing.

"How's your back door open?" the second deputy says.

The second deputy attempts to pull her to an upright position. "She jumped out the car," he says.

That second deputy was identified by GBI as Lt. Marlin Primus, the brother of Hancock County Sheriff Tomlyn "Terrell" Primus.

According to GBI investigators, Lt. Primus opened the rear passenger's side door and forgot to close it. He was not wearing a bodycam the night of the incident, according to GBI.

Legette never went on the passenger's side of his car prior to driving away, the released body-camera footage shows. After pulling over, he can be seen walking to the open passenger's side door and closing it.

The incident is still under investigation by GBI.

PHOTO: An undated photo of Brianna Grier, provided by her family's attorney. (WSB via Attorney Ben Crump)
PHOTO: An undated photo of Brianna Grier, provided by her family's attorney. (WSB via Attorney Ben Crump)

Sheriff Primus told protesters gathered outside the sheriff's office on Wednesday that he had planned to release body-camera footage of the incident once GBI's investigation is completed, the Union-Recorder reported.

"A lot of people have already drawn their own conclusions," he said, according to the publication. "Some people already feel as though we have things to hide. But we do not have anything to hide. The video footage will show evidence based on what has been stated already."

Crump said his team plans to perform an independent autopsy once her body is released from GBI, and that they will investigate what led to Grier, a mother of 3-year-old twin daughters, falling out of the car while it was moving.

"That's what we are primarily for -- is to get answers and demand justice," Crump said. "What this is really about is those 3-year-old little babies [who are] going to have to grow up without their mother."

Gerald Griggs, president of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, joined the family on Friday and called for accountability.

"To the Hancock County sheriff, it's time to be transparent. It's time to be accountable," he said. "To the GBI, it's time for y'all to meet with this family. To the governor, it's time for you to recognize, again, that Georgia has a police accountability problem."

"Georgians of all color deserve to feel protected in the custody and control of law enforcement," he said.

GBI refuted that it hasn't met with the Grier family, saying in a statement Friday night that it has met with them "in-person on multiple occasions since July 15."

"Agents have also had several conversations with the family, providing them with investigative updates," the agency said.

ABC News' Matt Foster contributed to this report.

Body-cam footage released in death of woman who fell from patrol car originally appeared on abcnews.go.com