Altercation video awaits DA’s opinion

by Wes Mayer

As of Thursday, the early Saturday arrest of Christopher Bryan in downtown Newnan is still being investigated internally by the Newnan Police Department.

Bryan was arrested around 2:30 a.m. in front of the Alamo by Newnan Police officers Aaron Trusty, Steven Jones and Lt. Mark Cooper. During Bryan’s arrest, officers struggled to subdue him, and in efforts to get him to comply with commands, officers deployed their Taser stun guns and, at one point, used physical force to place him in custody.

This physical force was described as two “open palm heel strikes,” and Cooper only resorted to applying them because the lesser use of force was not working to control Bryan, according to Trusty’s police report. During the altercation, Cooper was kicked in the stomach by Bryan. A section of the struggle was recorded by a bystander, Daniel Freeman, and uploaded to YouTube. As of 4:50 p.m. Thursday, the video has already been viewed on YouTube more than 24,000 times.

“None of this would have happened if the cops weren’t mad about [Bryan’s] freedom of speech,” said Bryan’s brother, Jeff, about the incident.

The arrest is now being investigated internally by the police and it will still be looked into by Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Pete Skandalakis, according to Police Chief Douglas “Buster” Meadows.

“I’ve seen nothing in [the video] that makes me think they did anything wrong,” Meadows said a few days after the arrest.

Skandalakis is in Savannah for a conference this week, and said he will investigate the incident at the beginning of next week. According to Skandalakis, Meadows contacted him and asked him to review the video, which he has done, but Skandalakis has asked Meadows for additional documentation.

Bryan was booked into the Coweta County Jail on charges of felony obstruction of officers, misdemeanor simple battery on an officer and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. According to jail authorities, Bryan does not have a bond set due to a violation of probation.

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