DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A former DeKalb County police officer, indicted this week after he was accused of assaulting a homeless woman repeatedly with a baton in an incident caught on cellphone video, surrendered to authorities at 3:38 a.m. Saturday, only to leave custody about 20 minutes later.
On Thursday, the DeKalb County District Attorney's Office said a grand jury had indicted 29-year-old Phillip Larscheid with aggravated assault and violation of oath -- both felonies, in connection with the June 4, 2017 incident.
Prosecutors said Thursday that a warrant had been issued for Larscheid's arrest. DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston said he had been given a deadline to surrender to authorities by 5 p.m. on Saturday.
According to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office official arrest information, Larscheid bonded out of DeKalb custody just after 4 a.m. with a total out-of-pocket cost of zero.
When reached by 11Alive News on Saturday afternoon, Larscheid's attorney, Lance LoRusso sent 11Alive News a statement:
“Master Police Officer Phillip Larscheid is considering his options going forward. He was Officer of the Year for 2014 for the entire Dekalb County Police Department and has received more than nineteen commendations during his eight years with the department. He certified with an ASP baton in the Dekalb Police Academy and seven times after that during annual training. He is understandably deeply concerned and taking these charges very seriously.”
According to the district attorney's office, Larscheid was responding to a complaint of a woman soliciting inside a Chevron gas station in the 3300 block of Glenwood Road in Decatur when the incident occurred.
Police said that when the incident occurred, Larscheid walked into the store and saw Katie McCrary standing by the front door.
He allegedly told her she needed to stay so he could speak with her. That's when she allegedly attempted to leave and tried to push him away.
Authorities said she replied she was a federal agent. The officer told her she could be arrested for impersonating a police officer and authorities said she replied by saying he was impersonating an officer. She then allegedly reached out and grabbed his badge, and the commotion began.
On the cellphone video, Larscheid could be seen repeatedly striking McCrary with his baton across the arms, legs, back and even once in the head.
McCrary was placed under arrest for felony obstruction of an officer and taken to the hospital. According to the district attorney's office, McCrary suffered a laceration in her left leg and multiple contusions to her body.
Warning: Video contains graphic footage
Initially, police said the officer was cleared after a review by his supervisor and the department's internal affairs department, stating, "The narrative in the officer's report appears to be consistent with the video."
"Approximately one month later, cell phone video of the incident surfaced online," Boston said. "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."
Boston said she wanted to make sure that this case is not an indictment against all police officers.
"This job requires judgment calls and split-second decisions," Boston said. "It also requires appropriate and sound decision making and behavior, coupled with the accountability for these officers who may run afoul of these expectations."
Boston said the district attorney's office will not be proceeding with charges against McCrary.
Judge Glenda Hatchett says she is pleased that a grand jury has indicted Larscheid.
“People should expect the police to serve and protect them, not to have to endure this horrific beating that went on," Hatchett said.
The Hatchett Firm is representing McCrary.
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