An Atlanta police sergeant has been fired a little more than a week after a viral video showed him kicking a handcuffed woman in the face as she lay on the ground in front of him.
“Based on a review of all the facts, it was determined Sgt. Marc Theodule’s actions violated department policy and he acted outside of APD standards and training,” the press release says.
But in a stunning turn of events, the officer who was working alongside Theodule — identified as Bridget Citizen — and placed on administrative duty has returned to work unpunished after APD determined she did not violate its policy of failing to intervene and stop the police brutality.
“Our expectation is that employees intervene in on-going active situations, in this case, the kick occurred one time and then ceased,” APD added, saying that it was Citizen who informed her superiors of Theodule’s brutality.
The brief but graphic footage was recorded by an unidentified bystander and went viral on July 26. The 8-second snippet shows the handcuffed suspect lying face-down on the pavement while Theodule and Citizen stand over her. The volume in the video is low, but the woman is shown lifting her head up to say something to Theodule. Even though she was clearly not a threat to him, Theodule responds by kicking the woman right in her face at very close range.
Despite the absence of most audio in the snippet, the woman can still be heard screaming in agony from being kicked in her face.
All the while, Citizen is shown standing there emotionless and never made a single attempt to intervene, let alone even physically reacted to the violence.
Local news reporter Michael Seiden tweeted the video and APD’s initial response — one that called Theodule’s actions “unacceptable” and expressed concern “with the apparent lack of reaction from another officer present during the incident.”
Watch the disturbing footage below.
— Michael Seiden (@SeidenWSBTV) July 26, 2021
Theodule was immediately suspended without pay as the investigation that resulted in his firing began.
The woman who was kicked in her face was suspected of possessing a gun that did not belong to her. Citizen was the initial responding officer and Theodule only arrived after the suspect requested Citizen’s supervisor on the scene, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
After the woman suspect, while handcuffed and on the ground, reportedly spit at Theodule, the sergeant kicked her in the face.
Theodule was not criminally charged for his police brutality, but since his firing opens the door for the victim of his police brutality to possibly file a civil suit against him.
Atlanta-based attorney Tiffany Williams Roberts tore into the city’s image as a place for Black people to thrive after seeing the video.
“Atlanta is not a Mecca when it comes to the impact of the violent police state,” Roberts tweeted. “We are part of the problem. Period.”
The video in Atlanta went viral after a series of arrests of brutally violent police officers suggested that cops who don’t intervene when fellow officers use police brutality on suspects are increasingly being disciplined for not doing their jobs.