ATLANTA – An Atlanta police officer was fired for using excessive force after he was caught on dashcam video repeatedly kicking and punching a teenage suspect after a police chase.
Only Channel 2 Action News has the video and documents that show the officer wasn’t even supposed to be at the scene to begin with.
Channel 2’s Nefertiti Jaquez obtained the 503-page report that reveals the Atlanta Police Department terminated the officer on July 26, 2017 for something that happened a nearly year earlier.
It all unfolded on Sept. 15, 2016, in southwest Atlanta. Former officer Matthew Johns, who was a part of the department’s elite Apex Unit, arrived at the scene after the pursuit led by Zone 3 officers and Georgia State Patrol.
Johns, who we’ve learned is also a Marine, is seen jumping out of a cruiser and immediately runs up to one of the three teenage suspects in the stolen car and kicks him in the head.
The video also shows he kicked the teen more than once, struck him on his side repeatedly and then was seen kneeling on his neck before punching him in the head while cuffing him.
Johns told investigators he thought the teen was reaching for a gun. But one of his supervisors
WSB-TV didn’t think his story added up, especially when the other officers on scene said the three suspects never resisted.
The document shows they immediately placed him on administrative leave. But then, the case went cold until Chief Erika Shields reopened it after taking office.
While the teen is blurred in the video provided by the Atlanta Police Department, the boy’s family gave us exclusive pictures of him at the hospital. His medical records show he suffered a concussion.
We reached out to the Atlanta Police Department, which released this statement reading, in part:
“The behavior by former Officer Matthew Johns exhibited on this videotape does not reflect the standards of conduct expected of Atlanta Police officers. His actions were unacceptable and – as a result – he was terminated. An additional three officers were disciplined because of other violations resulting from this incident, including disregarding our pursuit policy.”