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Report: Deputies forgot to close patrol vehicle’s door, leading to woman’s death

Brianna Marie Grier, 28, was placed in the back seat, “handcuffed in the front of her body with no seatbelt”

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By Tanasia Kenney
The Charlotte Observer

SPARTA, Ga. — Georgia deputies pulled off without closing the back door of their patrol car, leading to a woman’s fatal fall, according to new details released by the state’s Bureau of Investigation.

Brianna Marie Grier, 28, died at a hospital Thursday, July 21, nearly a week after authorities said she fell from a police car during her arrest in Sparta earlier this month, McClatchy News previously reported.

State investigators were asked to look into the incident and found that the back passenger side door where Grier was seated was never closed, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation wrote in a July 27 news release. Hancock County deputies arrested her at a home on July 15 after she “allegedly kicked deputies, dared them to tase her and said she wouldn’t go to jail before threatening to kill herself,” according to police records obtained by WMAZ.

Records also indicate Grier had a history of mental illness and may have been in crisis at the time of her arrest.

Citing police body camera video, investigators said it appears deputies forgot to shut the door after placing her in the back seat, “handcuffed in the front of her body with no seatbelt.”

At one point, Grier refused to get in the car and threatened to hurt herself, state investigators said. She was seated on the ground at the rear driver’s side of the patrol car.

“To put Grier in the patrol car, one of the deputies walked around and opened the rear passenger side door,” according to the GBI. “The deputy quickly returned to the rear driver’s side door. Both deputies put Grier in the backseat of the patrol car. The deputies closed the rear driver’s side door,” but didn’t close the rear passenger side door.

“The deputies left the scene and drove a short distance,” the release states. “Body camera footage reveals the deputies had no other contact with Grier from the time she was placed in the car until she fell out of the moving car.”

The 28-year-old suffered severe injuries in the incident and died six days later, authorities said.

The investigation remains ongoing.

Sparta is about 60 miles northeast of Macon.

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