Patrol car door was "never closed" before woman fell out, died: Investigators

·2 min read

Deputies in Georgia never closed a patrol car door after putting a 28-year-old handcuffed woman in the back seat during an arrest earlier this month, authorities said Wednesday. That woman, Brianna Marie Grier, fell out of the car while it was moving and died days later from her injuries, according to police.

Grier was arrested at a home in Sparta, Georgia, on July 15, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said last week. She was put into the patrol car and was being driven to the Hancock County Sheriff's Office when she fell out of the patrol car and suffered "significant injuries," the GBI said at the time.

She died of those injuries six days later, the GBI said. It's unclear why she was initially taken into custody. On Wednesday, the GBI said interviews, body camera footage and "mechanical tests" conducted on the patrol car revealed that the rear passenger side door of the car, near where Grier was sitting when she fell out, was "never closed" after she was placed in the vehicle.

Grier was handcuffed in the front of her body and was not wearing a seatbelt, the GBI added.

The GBI said that after her arrest, Grier "was on the ground refusing to get in" the vehicle near the driver's side door and told two deputies that "she was going to harm herself."  One of the deputies then walked around to the other side of the car and opened the rear passenger side door, the GBI said. The deputy then returned to the driver's side door, and both deputies put her in the vehicle.  "The investigation shows that the deputy thought he closed the rear passenger side door," the GBI wrote in its release. It did not elaborate.  Body camera footage showed that the deputies had no contact with Grier from the time she got into the car to the time she fell out, the GBI said. Grier's family, meanwhile, has hired prominent attorney Ben Crump, who scheduled a news conference for Friday. In a statement Thursday, Crump alleged that Grier was arrested during a "mental health crisis."

"Brianna Grier was a beautiful young mother who should still be alive," Crump said. "It is the responsibility of law enforcement to keep everyone in their custody safe and alive, including when there is a mental health crisis."

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