SOUTH FULTON, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — As a community activist, Marcus Coleman frequently seeks justice for others, but he’s calling for South Fulton and its police department to take action against an officer he says attacked him and infringed on his rights.
“I need Officer Solomon Mohammed charged, I first need him fired, I then need him convicted, I then need him sentenced properly,” said Coleman. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into the alleged use of force incident that Coleman taped with his cell phone video, and the officer was placed on administrative duty.READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Will You See Another Relief Payment Soon?
“I simply wanted to inquire about traffic control. There was no reason for that escalation,” Coleman said. The video shows Coleman approach the officer to inquire about why no one was directing traffic after a bad accident near Roosevelt Highway. “He very arrogantly, rudely rolled his window up on me. [He was] very dismissive, even though I pay his salary,” Coleman said. “I saw EMTs having to dodge out of the way of vehicles.” The video later shows the officer approaching and telling him to go back to his own car.
“I’m working a crime scene. If you would, assist me by getting back in your car,” said the officer. Coleman asserted his right to remain where he was, and things escalated when he threatened to tell the police chief. “He proceeds to knock the phone out my hand unsuccessfully. He attempts to grab my wrists and start to illegally detain me,” Coleman said.
Police later released body cam video from the officer’s view, which initially showed the officer processing the accident scene and gathering information from drivers before capturing the exchange.
“We’re waiting on someone to come and direct traffic,” the officer said.
“You can’t tell me that there shouldn’t be someone directing traffic,” said Coleman.
“We’re waiting on that, ok?” the officer explained.
“I’m just a citizen out here trying to make sure everybody alright, while you’re in your car,” Coleman is shown saying to the officer in the video.
“I’m doing the report, ok,” the officer said.
“We’ll see what Chief Meadows says about that,” said Coleman. “Well, we can call him right now,” said the officer.
The body cam also captured the scuffle and the officer escorting Coleman to the patrol car.
“I said, ‘Officer Mohammed, why am I in cuffs, and why am I in the back of this car?’ Each time, his response was like the first: ‘Stand by,’” said Coleman. He was later released when another officer showed up. “I am surprised by the city’s silence, this Black mayor, this Black city council. What good is our blackness, if we still act like our oppressors?”READ MORE: 'Rides To Remember' For Pediatric Cancer Returns To Atlanta Motorsports Park On Sept. 18
CW69’s Valencia Jones spoke with Mayor Pro Team and District 3 Councilwoman Helen Willis on the phone.
“I’m grateful that he walked away ok. He’s alive,” said Willis, who sponsored legislation that calls for third party investigations in these cases. “I reserve my comment on what should happen until we get that third party impartial investigation completed by the GBI.”
Coleman says more legislation is needed to end qualified and sovereign immunity for officers. “The officer’s narrative to save his own <expletive> is going to be that I was aggressive and I obstructed him from doing his duty,” said Coleman, who indicated he is represented by Attorneys Benjamin Crump and Jay Shipp.
City officials issued this statement:
The City of South Fulton continues to gather information related to Friday’s incident involving a resident and one of our police officers. We have asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to conduct an impartial investigation. That will include statements from all involved parties and witnesses, as well as a review of footage from cell phone and police body cameras. The officer in question has been placed on administrative duty, pending the conclusion of that investigation.
The city does not condone and will not tolerate excessive use of force by our officers in any case. In fact, we provide de-escalation and other innovative training for all of our officers to prevent such incidents. In addition, the city has adopted several legislative measures, including the 21st Century Policing tenets developed at the direction of President Barack Obama.
While our policies and procedures are clearly defined, we remain vigilant and flexible, taking any opportunity – such as this case – as a teachable moment to review and adjust those policies where needed.
We will cooperate completely with the GBI investigation and accept its findings. If any evidence of misconduct is found, the city will take appropriate disciplinary action. We ask for the public’s patience as we await the GBI’s conclusion and we commit to sharing that information as soon as we have it.
Councilman Mark Baker emailed CW69 this statement:
It is my understanding that the investigation is currently in the hands of the GBI. This protocol is based on legislation in our city championed by Mr. Coleman ironically. However, the video footage provided by Coleman may potentially expedite the work.
Professionalism is essential in the services provided by our officers and I contend that most of the Officers in our young but growing department would have responded in a different manner if placed under the same circumstances.MORE NEWS: 'Beyond Reckless': Atlanta Attorneys Plan To Sue Arrive Perimeter Apts. After Explosion
Coleman said he plans to meet with the police department on Thursday.