Phillip Larscheid is a Georgia police officer charged with assaulting a homeless woman after he was seen on video hitting her with a baton, 11 Alive reports.
Larscheid, 29, was indicted by a grand jury Thursday on charges of aggravated assault and violation of oath.
The DeKalb County Police officer was seen in a June 2017 video hitting Katie McCrary during a confrontation.
He was initially cleared of any wrongdoing by a supervisor and Internal Affairs before the investigation was reopened after the video surfaced.
Prosecutors said Friday that a warrant has been issued for Larscheid’s arrest. He has until Saturday to surrender to the police.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Phillip Larscheid Was Seen on Video Beating a Homeless Woman With His Baton
On June 4, 2017, Larscheid responded to a call about a woman soliciting inside a Chevron gas station, police told 11 Alive at the time.
When Larscheid walked in, he encountered 38-year-old Katie McCrary standing by the front door. Larscheid said that when he tried to walk into the store, the woman pushed him.
The officer said he told McCrary he had to speak to her and she replied by telling him she was a federal agent. Larscheid said he told McCrary that she could be arrested for impersonating an officer and the woman responded by accusing him of impersonating an officer.
Larscheid said the woman reached out and grabbed his badge. He said he pushed her back and she grabbed his radio and vest. He said he was unable to call for backup because another officer was speaking over the radio, at which point he took out his baton.
A video that was released weeks later shows Larscheid hit McCrary with his baton multiple times in the leg as bystanders urge her to “stop resisting.”
The woman tried to kick Larscheid and the officer responded by hitting her with his baton on the head. He is then seen pushing the baton against her neck as she grabs at it.
“Let it go or I’m going to shoot you,” Larscheid is heard saying.
Larscheid is then seen jamming his knee into the woman’s back as she asks, “What did I do? What did I do wrong?”
2. Larscheid Was Initially Cleared of Any Wrongdoing After the Incident
Police said at the time that Larscheid filed a “use of force” report after the incident, 11 Alive reported in 2017.
The officer said that he hit the woman multiple times in the left leg and she began to kick him. He said that he hit her in the forearm and the legs.
“One strike inadvertently struck the side of her head as she was moving around,” he wrote.
He added that he saw a half-inch laceration on the woman’s left leg and a welt on her forearm.
DeKalb County Police said that Larscheid was cleared after a review by a supervisor and Internal Affairs, saying in a statement, “The narrative in the officer’s report appears to be consistent with the video.”
McCrary was arrested for obstruction. When she was brought to jail, the jail refused to take her because her injuries were too severe and sent her to a hospital instead, WSB-TV reported.
DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston told 11 Alive that prosecutors would not proceed with charges against McCrary.
The Associated Press reported that McCrary is homeless.
3. Police Reopened Investigation After Video of the Beating Surfaced
Police announced they were reopening their investigation after the video of the incident was released weeks later.
Police said they would “determine whether the incident is consistent with policy and the law.”
Officials claimed they were “not aware of the cell phone video and did not have possession of the video” before it surfaced on social media.
“Approximately one month later, cell phone video of the incident surfaced online,” Sherry Boston said, according to 11 Alive. “This prompted DeKalb County Police Department to reopen the matter and forward the case to the GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) for an independent investigation.”
The findings of the investigation were presented to a grand jury, which decided to charge Larscheid with multiple felonies.
4. Larscheid Was Indicted by a Grand Jury on Two Felonies
A grand jury on Thursday charged Larscheid with aggravated assault and violation of oath.
“We determined that the case warranted prosecutorial action and presented the case today to the grand jury,” Boston said.
“This job requires judgment calls and split-second decisions,” she said in a statement. “It also requires appropriate and sound decision making and behavior, coupled with the accountability for these officers who may run afoul of these expectations.”
A warrant was issued for Larscheid’s arrest. He has until Saturday to surrender to police.
5. Larscheid is ‘Devastated’ and ‘Considering His Options,’ Lawyer Says
Larscheid’s attorney Lance LoRusso told The Associated Press that the officer is “considering his options.”
“We’ll take appropriate action in the next days and weeks,” LoRusso said. “Obviously, it’s devastating.”
In a statement to WSB-TV, LoRusso listed Larscheid’s commendations.
“He was Officer of the Year for 2014 for the entire Dekalb County Police Department and has received more than nineteen commendations during his eight years with the department,” the statement said. “He certified with an ASP baton in the Dekalb Police Academy and seven times after that during annual training. He is understandably deeply concerned and taking these charges very seriously.”
DeKalb County officials confirmed to WSB that Larscheid is still “currently employed with the DeKalb County Police Department and has been on clerical duty since July 11, 2017.”