Decatur, GA -- Katie McCrary is a homeless woman doing whatever she can to survive. But while she may have a criminal history, she, like other law-breakers, still deserves to be treated humanely and with some sense of decency. But that didn't happen when Dekalb County police officer Phillip Larscheid, 29, struck her with his baton nearly too many times to count.
Now, because someone decided to film the police, Larscheid has been indicted on charges of aggravated assault and violation of his oath of office.
One of the most troubling aspects of this case is the fact that the police department originally cleared Larshcheid of any wrongdoing and only after the video went viral were they forced to "reopen the investigation."
The incident happened on June 4, 2017 when police were called to the scene of a local convenience store at the corner of Glenwood and Line St. in Decatur. McCrary had been propositioning patrons for money. Others say she's frequently there and may have mental issues.
But when Larshceid arrived, McCrary allegedly pushed him and would not follow his commands. That's when bystanders say he began beating her with his baton.
“Like one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, that’s excessive,” customer Calvin Smith said.
After the beating, a complaint of "excessive use of force" was filed as a result of the officer's actions. The department investigated, and came to the following conclusion which exonerated the officer.
Upon the officer’s arrival, the female, identified as Katie McCrary, attempted to push the officer out of the way. The officer stopped her at the door and asked her to step back. Words were exchanged between the officer and McCrary with McCrary subsequently assaulting the officer. She continued to aggressively resist the officer’s commands, resulting in the deployment of the officer’s baton.
The officer was eventually able to restrain and handcuff McCrary. EMS responded to the scene to check McCrary. She was transported to the DeKalb County Jail and later to Grady Hospital. The officer filed a Use of Force Report on the incident.
“You can see that she wasn’t even resisting arrest. She was probably resisting the last few swings that weren’t caught on camera,” customer Craig Nelson said.
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Predictably, Larcheid was allowed to continue his employment with the police force. But that was then. Since that time, new cell phone footage, shot at the scene of the horrendous beating, has come to light and has led to the officer facing charges.
"Approximately one month later, cell phone video of the incident surfaced online," said DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston. "This prompted DeKalb County Police Department to reopen the matter and forward the case to the GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) for an independent investigation."
“Just to see what you showed me, that makes my heart hurt,” customer Tasha Marignay said.
In an extremely rare move for any police department, the Dekalb County Police Department reopened the case. The backlash the police force is receiving is likely very strong considering supporters and critics believe it to be a clear case of police brutality.
The officer struck her at least 13 times full force with his baton and even threatened to "shoot" her if she didn't let go of his baton when she attempted to control his actions by grabbing his stick.
According to CBS 46, McCrary, now 40, was charged with obstructing an officer and was also given a criminal trespass warning, the report says. District Attorney Sherry Boston said Thursday that her office will not pursue charges against McCrary stemming from that arrest.
The whole scenario brings back 1960's era images of officers beating civil rights activists with batons, shooting them with water cannons, and allowing German Shepherd attack dogs to maul them in the streets.
WARNING: The video below is graphic and disturbing.