A Georgia police officer is back on the job just days after video of him surfaced appearing to body-slam an elderly woman to the ground during her arrest for allegedly driving under the influence earlier this month.
Glynn County Police Officer Kevin Jones was reinstated after Chief Matt Doering launched an investigation and ruled he acted appropriately in the Dec. 5 incident.
"The totality of circumstances is not typically afforded from the mere viewing of a video or from the individual perspective of a witness," Doering said in a written report Saturday obtained by 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," he wrote. "I have thoroughly reviewed this incident and find that Officer Kevin Jones acted reasonably."
[sharequote align="center"]"I have thoroughly reviewed this incident and find that Officer Kevin Jones acted reasonably."[/sharequote]
Video recorded and uploaded to YouTube by user "nick james" appears to show Jones throw 70-year-old Kathleen Mary Allegrone to the ground, a move that made a loud sound as she slammed into the pavement.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the video had about 180,000 views on YouTube. But Doering insists it doesn't capture the totality of the incident.
The police chief says the incident began when officers stopped Allegrone and the 70-year-old woman refused to unlock her doors, according to The Brunswick News. When Jones finally managed to finally obtain access to the vehicle, he said he smelled alcohol on the woman's breath. Then, Allegrone allegedly became violent.
"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.
"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," the police chief added.
Then, when Jones placed the woman in handcuffs, Allegrone allegedly began "squeezing very hard while twisting her fingernails into Officer Jones' hand and wrist while simultaneously turning her body toward him."
According to Doering, Jones thought the sharp digging may have involved a weapon and instinctively used a defensive tactic, The Brunswick News reported.
"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," Doering said. "Once on the ground Ms. Allegrone cooperated and was hand-cuffed without further resistance."
"Had he not reacted decisively, Ms. Allegrone would have continued to jeopardize the officer's safety, and others, with her assaultive behavior," he added, noting that Jones' hand required medical attention and may leave scars.
Officials backed the chief's analysis.
"Clearly, she was an out-of-control person, and police deal with out-of-control people all of the time," Commissioner Dale Provenzano told The Brunswick News. "I'm comfortable with the chief's decision."
[sharequote align="center"]"Clearly, she was an out-of-control person..."[/sharequote]
Commissioner Richard Strickland, who retired from the Glynn County Police Department after a 30-year career, also agreed.
"[Jones] did no more and no less than what he was taught to do to neutralize the situation," Strickland told The Brunswick News.
Allegrone, who reportedly refused medical treatment at the scene, was booked for drinking and driving and obstruction of an officer. She was later released on $7,558 bail and has not filed a complaint against the police department, according to The Brunswick News.
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