The now-infamous video of an Atlanta police officer decking an unruly woman in a Buckhead IHOP only tells part of the story: cop grabs woman, woman's friend intervenes, said friend gets punched by cop. But how'd it all start?
According Officer J. Vidal's narrative from that night — or, rather, early Saturday morning; just before 3 a.m. — the kerfuffle began when the women wouldn't shut up. He says he heard Cynthia Freeman — the woman whose collar he's clutching at the beginning of the video — yelling in the booth behind where he was standing, so he asked her to be quiet or leave. According to Vidal, Freeman refused, and told him that she's a criminal justice major and is familiar with the law.
"She stated that this is a public place and she knows her first amendment rights," Vidal wrote in his report, "I advised her that IHOP is private property and that I am employed by IHOP. I also advised her that she would have to leave the property if she continued to keep yelling. Ms. Freeman stated that she knew the law and wasn’t going anywhere. Ms. [Roberta] Caban [told me] to get out of her face."
Apparently, Freeman didn't believe that Vidal was a police officer. She said she refused to leave, and threatened to call the cops on him. That's when Vidal decided she was under arrest.
"I tried to get her out of the booth, and she resisted," Vidal wrote. He then says that Caban grabbed his arm and Freeman threw punches at his body.
Enter Ashley Leavell. Here's how Vidal describes what the video shows:
Ms. Ashley Leavell came over to the booth and started yelling to leave Ms. Freeman alone. Officer C. Heflin arrived and assisted me in trying to get the incident under control. Officer Heflin advised Ms. Leavell to stay back and Ms. Leavell punched me in the left side of my face. I returned the punch and struck her in her face. I then grabbed Ms. Leavell and tried to put her in custody. Ms. Leavell resisted arrest after a short struggle, I placed her in custody.
Caban, Freeman, Leavell and a fourth woman named Vanessa Chancey were arrested, and Leavell was transported to Grady Detention.
After the jump, TWO videos of the whole thing going down. What say you?
First, here's the original video we posted:
Then from the perspective of Boba Fett and a storm trooper:
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