Atlanta, GA — When Hancock County Sheriff Terrell Primus visited Mary and Marvin Grier earlier this month, he told them that their daughter, Brianna Grier had been airlifted to Grady Hospital in Atlanta. Brianna, according to the sheriff, had kicked open the door on the patrol car and jumped out while it was rolling.
On July 14, her parents and sister had called 911 for help when Brianna had a schizophrenic episode. Marvin Grier told WMAZ that this wasn’t the first time Brianna has had a schizophrenic episode. He said usually EMS would come, transport her to Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin and take her to the psychiatric unit, but this time was different. Brianna got guns and badges instead of ambulances and hospital beds.
Instead of EMS, two deputies arrived at the home between 12 and 1 a.m. and put the 28-year-old in handcuffs and put her in the back of the deputy’s car.
She was supposed to be taken to the sheriff’s office but she would never make it there.
The sheriff told the family the next day that she had “kicked the door out and jumped out the car,” Marvin Grier told WMAZ.
When the Griers made it to the hospital to see Brianna, they were heartbroken to find her on life support.
“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.
Brianna would die four days later.
As the family began their grieving process, they also had lots of questions. Given that police patrol car doors cannot be opened from the inside, how was it that Brianna was somehow able to kick open the door and “fall” out of the car?
“I would do what any other parent would do, and that’s what we’re trying to do is find answers,” Marvin Grier said.
“If she got out the car, they had to let her out the car. That’s my interpretation, because in a police car, you can’t open the door from the inside, it had to be the outside,” Mary Grier said last week.
Fast-forward to this week, and Mary would be proven right. Brianna never kicked open the door — because the door was never closed. As WMAZ reports:
The GBI said Grier was placed in the back of the car, handcuffed in the front with no seatbelt. The investigation revealed that after she was arrested, they tried to put her inside the back seat of the deputy’s car on the driver’s side.
One of the deputies walked around and opened the rear passenger side door. The deputy went back around to the driver’s side. Both deputies put Grier in the back seat and closed the rear driver’s side door.
The deputy thought he closed the rear passenger side door, and the deputies left the scene. They drove a short distance before Grier fell out of the moving car. Body camera footage reveals the deputies had no contact with Grier from the time she was placed in the car until she fell out of the car.
Whether through incompetence or malice, the deputies who picked up Brianna that night, have left a family in shambles. Brianna’s two daughters will now grow up without their mother.
As the tragedy in Uvalde highlighted recently, police have no duty to protect you which has been established in Warren v. District of Columbia. That being said, however, it has explicitly been established that while in police custody, they are certainly responsible for your safety.
In the case of DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services (109 S.Ct. 998, 1989; 489 U.S. 189 (1989)), the court in DeShaney held that no duty arose as a result of a “special relationship,” concluding that Constitutional duties of care and protection only exist as to certain individuals, such as incarcerated prisoners, involuntarily committed mental patients and others restrained against their will and therefore unable to protect themselves.
Brianna fit these criteria yet her life was shamefully disregarded and the taxpayers of Georgia will most assuredly be held liable.