Handcuffed woman fell from police car and died in Georgia. Now her family is suing

Deputies used “unreasonable” and “ultimately deadly” force during the arrest of a Georgia woman who fell from the back of a moving patrol car, according to a civil rights complaint.

Now the family of Brianna Grier is seeking $100 million for justice in her death.

“There is no excuse, no justification why Brianna Grier is dead and why she died in such a horrific manner,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who’s representing the family, said at a news conference announcing the lawsuit Wednesday, May 24.

The complaint names Hancock County Sheriff Tomlyn Primus, his brother Lieutenant Marlin Primus and Deputy Timothy Legette as defendants.

McClatchy News reached out to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office for comment May 25 and was awaiting a response.

In the 88-page complaint, attorneys accuse deputies of “gross negligence” and “excessive force” that led to Grier’s death.

They further allege deputies unjustly “seized and restrained” the 28-year-old with handcuffs, picking her up and dropping her repeatedly while ignoring her shouts for help before her fatal fall July 15, 2022.

Family members said Grier, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, was having a mental health crisis, which prompted them to call 911.

A probe by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation determined deputies did not close the back door of the patrol car, McClatchy News previously reported. Citing police body cam footage, investigators said deputies put Grier in the back seat “with no seat belt.”

Just seconds into the drive, she fell out and ended up “face down on the side of the road approximately 10 to 12 steps away” from Legette’s patrol car, the lawsuit states.

The mom of two suffered a head injury and was deprived of prompt medical care, attorneys allege in the complaint. Grier was hospitalized in a coma and died six days later.

Deputies initially said Grier had “superhuman strength” and kicked open the door before she “jumped” from the moving patrol car, the complaint states.

“Even after their falsehoods were debunked by the GBI, Sheriff Primus allowed his Officers’ demonstrably false statements to remain and refuses to … apologize for the misrepresentations he and his Officers have made,” attorneys wrote.

The GBI closed their investigation into Grier’s death in November, after which prosecutors declined to charge the deputies involved.

Sparta is about 100 miles southeast of Atlanta.

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