A Gwinnett County police officer has been fired following an investigation into an incident that involved the officer, who is White, cursing at and using a TASER on a Black woman during an arrest in the Loganville area.
Video of the incident surfaced on the Everything Georgia Twitter account on Thursday and quickly went viral. Within five hours, more than 6,000 people shared the video.
Gwinnett police said Officer Michael Oxford’s conduct during the arrest did not meet department standards for de-escalation of a situation.
“One of our core values is courtesy,” Cpl. Collin Flynn said in a statement. “We strive to conduct ourselves in a manner that promotes mutual respect with the community and our peers.
“The investigation in this case has shown that Officer Oxford violated our policy and did not meet our core values. For this reason, the employment of Officer Oxford has been terminated as of Aug. 21st.”
An investigation into Oxford’s actions began before the video surfaced on social media Thursday, according to police. Police released body camera footage of the arrest on Friday.
Meanwhile, the county’s police department looked at three issues in the matter.
One of those issues was the arrest of the woman, identified as Kyndesia Smith, itself. The other two issues were Oxford’s conduct during the incident and his use of force.
The investigation determined there was probable cause to arrest Smith for obstruction of a law enforcement officer, and that his use of force was within department policy.
Oxford’s conduct during the arrest is a different story.
“The Gwinnett County Police Department holds its officers to the highest standards of conduct and integrity,” Flynn said. “Prior to the viral social media video being discovered, the conduct of Officer Oxford was already flagged by supervisors and an investigation had begun.
“That investigation looked at whether proper de-escalation techniques were used, and whether Officer Oxford violated our policy based on the manner in which he handled the incident. Our policy states that each member of this department shall consider it his or her duty to be of service to the general public and to render that service in a kind, considerate, and patient manner.”
Flynn previously said the officer was responding to a call about two people who allegedly had thrown a bottle at a car and threatened a woman and 9-year-old child inside the vehicle. The incident happened on the 1800 block of Summit Creek Way in Loganville.
“The incident of the bottle being thrown was captured on surveillance video,” police said in a statement. “That video shows a woman come and retrieve the bottle from the yard before police arrived. The complainant directed the officer to the house where she believed the suspects were staying.
“When the officer went to the house, he immediately recognized one of the women on the front porch from the video surveillance. He attempted to speak with her about the incident but was unable to do so because the defendant in this case, Kyndesia Smith, began yelling at him.”
The video circulating Twitter shows the officer arguing with Smith on a porch, which she told the officer was part of her home. Someone can be heard shouting “Black lives matter” in the background.
“I’m not going nowhere,” Smith told the officer. “It doesn’t matter. You’re on our property. We did not call you.”
The officer responded by saying, “Do you want to go to jail?”
“I’m not going anywhere,” Smith told him.
“Turn around,” the officer then said to her in response.
Smith then pulled away from the officer and said, “I’m not resisting. You’re not touching me,” before she moved behind a chair that another woman was sitting in.
The officer then walked around to the right side of the chair and grabbed Smith and began pulling on her arm. That caused the woman who was sitting down to be knocked out of her chair as it was flipped over during the scuffle.
Smith then pulled away from him and he began shouting, “Get on the ground. Get on the (expletive) ground. Get on the ground right now.”
He then used the TASER on Smith, which caused her to fall backward into a bush. Standing over her, he then began repeatedly shouting “turn over right now” at her before he began turning her on her stomach to arrest her.
The video ends as she began to say something to the officer.
Flynn said the officer in the video responded to Smith yelling at him by issuing a warning.
“The officer responded by yelling back and told Smith that if she did not let him do his job he would place her under arrest,” Flynn said. “After several warnings, the officer told Smith that she was under arrest. Smith resisted a lawful command and refused to be placed in handcuffs.
“After refusing to be placed in handcuffs, she was warned that she would be tased. After she resisted the officer’s commands she was tased and placed in handcuffs. After she was placed in handcuffs she kicked the officer and continued to be uncooperative.”