GLENN COUNTY, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) – A police officer is back at work after violently throwing an elderly woman to the ground during an arrest that was caught on video.
Glynn County Police Officer Kevin Jones can be seen in a YouTube video captured by a bystander with another officer, Anthony Sermons, escorting Kathleen Mary Allegrone from an SUV to a police vehicle. The officers were trying to arrest the 70-year-old woman for drinking and driving after she allegedly ran into the rear of a vehicle while driving her SUV.
In the video, Allegrone appears to resist the officers arresting her and yells, “No, you’re hurting my arm,” while being escorted to the police car, The Brunswick News reports. Jones appears to throw her to the pavement once they reach the police car in the video. The officers then lean over her to talk to her and sit her upright.
Police Chief Matt Doering gave Jones non-law enforcement administrative duties with pay when an internal affairs investigation began after the Dec. 5 incident.
In a report released, Doering said his investigation looked at all of the evidence available to decide if the officer’s action was justified and if he acted appropriately in his use of force, the newspaper reported.
“The totality of circumstances is not typically afforded from the mere viewing of a video or from the individual perspective of a witness,” Doering wrote, according to the Brunswick News. “Camera angle, clarity, quality and point of view of witnesses does not lend the opportunity for a fully informed judgment as to the actions of an officer or others. I have thoroughly reviewed this incident and find that Officer Kevin Jones acted reasonably.”
According to dashboard camera video, Allegrone made an obscene gesture to the officers as they attempted to speak to her after the incident. The woman appeared to lock herself in the SUV, requiring the officers to use a lock-picking device to get her out.
“As Officer Jones reached for the unlock mechanism, Ms. Allegrone grabbed Officer Jones’ left hand, squeezing and twisting her fingernails very hard into his hand, digging into his skin causing sharp pain,” Doering wrote, the Brunswick News reports. “While in the car with Ms. Allegrone, Officer Jones smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage that, combined with her rear-ending a vehicle, combative and assaultive behavior, led him to believe she was driving while impaired.”
When Jones attempted to put handcuffs on Allegrone after he and Sermons had walked her to the back of a parked police car, Doering said she began “squeezing very hard while twisting her fingernails into Officer Jones’ hand and wrist while simultaneously turning her body toward him.”
Jones thought the sharp digging and cutting into his skin could have involved more than fingernails, so he used a defensive tactic to stop the assault and maintain control of Allegrone, Doering said.
“He did so by making a split-second decision to immediately turn his body in the same direction as Ms. Allegrone was turning, while pulling his hand away from her, and in using her turning momentum, he grabbed her shoulder and pushed her rapidly forward and down to the ground as one continuing movement. Once on the ground Ms. Allegrone cooperated and was hand-cuffed without further resistance,” Doering said. “Had he not reacted decisively, Ms. Allegrone would have continued to jeopardize the officer’s safety, and others, with her assaultive behavior.”
Doering said deep cuts on Jones’ hand required medical attention and will likely leave permanent scars.
He has also said that Allegrone refused medical treatment or examination at the scene and is seen in a booking photo at the Glynn County Detention Center with blood on her face and an apparent abrasion on the bridge of her nose. It is unclear what the extent her injuries may have been.
Allegrone was booked Dec. 6 at the Glynn County Detention Center on charges of driving under the influence and obstruction of an officer through the use of violence or threats. She was released later that day on $7,558 bail.
Lawyer Robert Crowe, who is representing her on the DUI and obstruction charges, has said he does not comment on pending cases and that he is unaware if she would file a lawsuit.
As of Friday, Doering said Allegrone had not filed a complaint against Jones or the department.
Attempts by The News this past week to reach Allegrone at her home were unsuccessful.
Glynn County Police Officer Kevin Jones is not related to the Brunswick Police Department public information officer who is also named Kevin Jones.