Video: Officers Accused of Excessive Force in Melee At Atlanta IHOP

Atlanta Police are investigating an incident captured in the video below where an officer is shown first slapping and then punching a woman in an altercation. The woman and her friends insist that they were arrested without cause. The ACLU is calling the case a matter of excessive force.

Cynthia Freeman said that she did not even know the man who first confronted her was a police officer. He came by to tell them to be quiet and then, according to the women, almost immediately escalated the matter. Notably, the woman (Ashley Leavell) who was struck by the officer did not know Freeman but was trying to get the officer to back off. Leavell was sitting at another table.

The police insist that Leavell was drunk and threatening the arresting officer. She is now charged with obstruction of justice, criminal trespass and simple battery. The last charge appears based on her grabbling or pushing the officer in this video. We have seen other cases where police charge any contact as battery.

Source: AJC

16 thoughts on “Video: Officers Accused of Excessive Force in Melee At Atlanta IHOP”

  1. This is absolutely ludicrous. I am surprised the cop didn’t just cuff her immediately instead of punching her. The punch is where the excessive force was used. It is an unfortunate situation.

  2. The beginning of the tape is a bit confusing. It looks as though she was pushing on the cop’s arm and then he slugged her and it escalated from there. I agree she should not have made physical contact with the cop, but his slugging her did not help the situation either. In fact, in made things worst. What is not clear is what was going on on the other side of the table. The cop was dealing with that person before the fight with the woman across the table started. The first person wasn’t arrested. I do wish there was more footage to show what lead up to this. Cops are supposed to enforce law and order but often times when they arrive on the scene the law and the order get thrown out of the window. What a mess!

  3. It doesn’t matter if the cops were at fault or not doing their job professionally or with courtesy. You still CANNOT touch them.

    It doesn’t matter if they slapped you or bonked your forehead or brush you off, it still doesn’t ENTITLE you to retaliate in any way.

    I’ll say it again, don’t touch cops, you don’t have to speak to them except tell them your name, where you live and tell them you want a lawyer (or “am I free to go, Officer?”) when they’re questioning you. If they search you, keep saying “I do not consent to the search”, and there’s a good chance that a lawyer will get your charge dropped or have them let you go.

    Also it helps if you don’t resist arrest in any way, it looks good for you in court. It doesn’t matter if you think you are right and they are wrong, that you are innocent, it doesn’t give you good reason to resist. Just go along with them and they will treat you fairly. If they don’t treat you fairly, just tell them you want to see a doctor (and get your bruises, body marks documented!) and try not to react to them as if they’re pushing your button then they can justify their treatment toward you if you return the same favor.

    You will have your days in court, both civic and public. Just don’t do something stupid to aggravate or escalate your situation with local authorities.

  4. That’s right Blouise, Rafflaw is encouraging people to physically fight with cops by suggesting what the woman did was understandable and that’s what he might just do himself, I bring to the thread a clearer video of the incident, and I encourage Professor Turley to set up a video sharing site for people to post/tweet/discuss such videos regarding their interactions with cops, tsa, and the feds.

    Where would rafflaw or this blog be without your superior wisdom?

    More spurious rafflaw: “How is that 3-4 cops cannot subdue one woman without beating the crap our of her?”

    Rafflaw sees 2 cops in a video that he can watch as many times as he likes and writes down 3-4 cops, and he’s your bestest buddy and smertest commenter on this blog.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

    As for drive bys Blouise, you may wish to ask why rafflaw jumped from 2 cops to 4 and why you let that slide.

  5. I encourage everyone to record videos of their interactions with cops, tsa, and the gov’t in general. And to tweet those videos using #copwatch or #tsawatch.

    And even better to download iphone/android apps like qik, or ustream, or that allow for INSTANT ONLINE BROADCASTING.

    Actually Professor Turley, I’d really like to encourage you, in the spirit of the Innocence Project, to get some students to build such a website that would allow for citizens to post such video anonymously, and create discussion boards around each video, and provide tutorials, links, other videos, etc., detailing what our rights are, and how to protect them, videos on the order of the various internet videos now like:

    “don’t talk to the police by Professor James Duane”

    “BUSTED: The Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters” (ACLU endorsed)

    and even Chris Rock’s “Chris Rock: How Not to Get Your Ass Kicked by the Police” (funny, not horrible advice, perhaps not the most realistic.)

  6. Here’s another view, as seen by, uh, I think am imperial stormtrooper.

    This appears in a FARK thread that you can find by googling “Rule #34 certainly applies to the latest IHOP fight caught on video”

    What is interesting about the FARK thread, is:

    1) How many people see one or both of these videos and presumably sincerely, pick up different details, and have widely different interpretations of what they are seeing

    2) The amount of sexist double standard in the FARK thread, and even here, by rafflaw of course.

    I find it amusing/typical/nonsensical to hear rafflaw tell us how if confronted by a cop, even if rafflaw completely innocently and mistakenly and with no malice put his hand on the cop’s arm to get his attention, that if the cop slapped rafflaw to get him to remove his hand, that rafflaw would go all Internet Tough Guy and proceed to pummel the cop.

    The copy may have used undue force, I am neither lawyer nor was I there, nor do I know what cops are legally allowed to do, but if that was a man there and not a woman, I doubt we’d be hearing the same old tired, patronizing, condescending, Internet White Knighting, sexist, chauvinistic, misandric AND misogynistic defenses of the woman’s behavior.

    Another FARKer reports, but with no link:

    Yep. Local news had the whole story. Management of the IHOP called the cops because these two sweethearts were yelling and acting like asstards for about 20 minutes. ON DUTY cops showed up and spent 10 or 15 minutes trying to shut them up and get them out. They finally decided they had no choice but to begin physically removing them. I’m amazed those cops showed that much restraint up until biatch started swinging. That’s not typical AT ALL for around here.

  7. Mespo,
    You are right. The other officer had already grabbed the woman’s right arm after she retaliated against the cop and then the cop slugged her. How is that 3-4 cops cannot subdue one woman without beating the crap our of her? Those cops should be fired and the city of Atlanta should be looking at their insurance policies. This lady was no saint, but when a cop slaps you, I know I would have a hard time not reacting.

  8. Gotts to love a guy — any guy — and especially one who needs help from his pussy posse friends, to punch a woman for any reason. In saner times, he’d have been horsewhipped. Alas, we live in a modern society. He’ll probbaly be promoted.

  9. I lean towards….they were in the restaurant….it was not the cops prerogative OFF DUTY to do a damn thing… But then again….This is Atlanta…..The Last Word is the Cops….

  10. Dumb bullies beat people up and go to jail. Smarter bullies become cops, beat people up and send THEM to jail. I see a woman extending her hand to ward off a possible attack, getting slapped, fighting back and getting cold-cocked (watch how he sets her up for the punch) by a cop who is three times her size.

    Unfortunately, if you got rid of all the cops who took pleasure from using overwhelming and unnecessary force on disorderly people you would have no police force anywhere but Mayberry.

  11. Well, I see her attacking the officers first.

    And I also see her resisting arrest.

    Excessive force? Nah.

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