DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A grand jury has decided to indict a DeKalb County Police officer accused of assaulting a homeless woman repeatedly with a baton.
On Thursday, the DeKalb County District Attorney's Office said 29-year-old Phillip Larscheid is being charged with aggravated assault and violation of oath - both of which are felonies.
The encounter, which happened June 4, 2017, was captured on cell phone video.
Prosecutors say Larscheid was responding to a complaint of a woman soliciting inside a Chevron Gas Station in the 3300 block of Glenwood Road in Decatur.
Authorities said when Larscheid walked in the store, he 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.
Warning: Video contains graphic footage
Initially, DeKalb County Police said that the officer was cleared after a review by his supervisor and Internal Affairs, 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," said DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston. "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."
In the video, Larscheid is seen using a baton to repeatedly strike McCrary. He was hit across her arms, legs, back, and even once in the head.
People off-camera could be heard urging the woman to "stop resisting." The officer is also heard repeatedly asking the woman to "put your hands behind your back."
At one point the woman rolls on her back and begins kicking towards the officer. He again begins to swing his baton.
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.
"We determined that the case warranted prosecutorial action and presented the case today to the grand jury," Boston said.
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."
Prosecutors said a warrant has been issued for Larscheid's arrest. Boston said he has a deadline to surrender to authorities by 5 p.m. on Saturday.
As for McCrary, Boston said they will not be proceeding with charges against her.
This is still an open and pending case, Boston added.