An Atlanta, Georgia family is mortified after seeing the video footage of their relative, Ashley, being kicked by an officer as she lies face down on the ground already in handcuffs.
The Atlanta Police Department has suspended the sergeant who kicked Ashley, as well as the other officer who stood by watching.
The video taken by a neighbor was originally released by the Atlanta Uncensored Twitter and Instagram accounts.
The victims aunt, Nell Gibson, said to CBS46:
"It was a woman down on the ground in handcuffs, oh man I am totally horrified, I'm speechless, not only that it's a police officer."
Reporter Jamie Kennedy with CBS46 had a chance to interview the neighbor who took the video:
"She was spitting at the officer and then she had already spit on him once before but it didn't get on him, so she spit on him again and it got on his boots and that's when he decided to kick her in the face."
Another neighbor explained this wasn't the first time she was attacked by the police officer:
"They actually kicked her down the hill and she went rolling."
"We was like, 'Why did you kick her?' [The officer] was like, 'I didn't kick her,' he didn't even know that somebody was recording."
According to a statement made by Atlanta Police Department Chief Bryant and commanders, it was lucky there was video evidence. Without it, they never would have known what happened to Ashley.
The statement also said:
"Upon reviewing the video, the actions of the sergeant appear to be unacceptable and we are also concerned with the apparent lack of reaction from another officer present during the incident."
"The actions of those in the video appear to fall outside our standards and training."
"However, it is important for the Office of Professional Standards to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the facts surrounding this incident."
The original police report claimed the initial call was for a woman pointing a gun at multiple people in the area. Upon arrival, the officers became concerned with the woman's mental health.
Nell Gibson explained the family was worried for Ashley's mental health as well.
"Ashley does have some mental health problems we thought she was off her meds because she's been acting kind of off."
Community activists and family members have since stood up to demand justice for Ashley.
Kristie Johnson, Ashley's cousin, said at the press conference:
"As you all can see, my cousin is mentally ill and we want justice for her because no one should be treated like an animal."
Ashley's sister also said the police officers involved should be charged just like any other citizen would be for assaulting someone. She said Ashley had not received any medical attention while in jail over night.
She has since received help.
People on Twitter are sharing their upset with the treatment of a mentally ill woman by the police.
A "shocked and angered" Gerald Griggs—vice president of Atlanta NAACP—told Fox 5:
"It's a step in the right direction, but it's not enough."
"But we understand there are policies and procedures that have to be followed, due process has to be followed, so we understand that. At no point should a citizen of Atlanta be kicked in the face while they're handcuffed."
"We think the ultimate punishment, termination should happen. But the other officers we do believe there should be some strict punishment as well."
Devon Barrington Ward, candidate for Atlanta City Council district 9 and community organizer with the Movement for Black Lives, said at the press conference:
"This is a sad day in the city of Atlanta because we are better than this."
"We are better than kicking handcuffed people in the head."
"We are better than further escalating violence in our community."
"We are better than this and we need policies that reflect that we are better than this. But first we need justice."
Atlanta City Councilman and Mayoral Candidate Andre Dickens said in a statement:
"I am sickened watching video of a handcuffed woman, lying face down, getting kicked in the head and I am glad that this sergeant has been relieved of his duties pending an investigation."
"I don't want to imagine my mother, daughter or sister being treated this way by the police. The very police we entrust to protect our communities. This woman should not have been kicked in the face."
"I support a fair, open and expedient process to determine appropriate penalties in this and other cases where officers have violated their oath of office."
If elected, Dickens hopes to implement new, highly trained officers from HBCU's and other sources who have the latest training on conflict resolution and have specialists instead of patrol officers handle nonviolent issues.
This plan is called S.A.F.E. Streets Atlanta.