Georgia Trooper Appears To Stomp On Man In Viral Video, Sparking Outrage

A video showing a Georgia state trooper apparently stomping on a man as he lay on the ground has sparked an outcry.

The video was posted on ATL Uncensored's Twitter and Instagram accounts on Sunday and soon went viral. It shows a trooper kick a man on the ground twice before pulling him onto the sidewalk, turning him face down and handcuffing him.

A spokesperson for the Georgia State Patrol (GSP) said in a statement to Newsweek that the incident started as a traffic stop on I-75/85 North near Edgewood Avenue in Atlanta after a trooper saw a driver who was not wearing a seat belt at around 5:40 p.m. on Sunday.

This can’t be real 😳 pic.twitter.com/EclvJFwj1L

— ATL Uncensored | Atlanta News (@ATLUncensored) October 3, 2021

The driver, Jamarco Lucas, initially stopped, but then led police on a chase, the spokesperson said. "The pursuit traveled on city streets before the driver stopped and fled from the vehicle on foot," the statement added.

The statement said the trooper deployed his stun gun twice, striking Lucas once during the foot pursuit.

"During the foot pursuit, the Trooper observed a handgun fall from the driver's waistband. The Trooper did not see where the firearm fell," the statement continued. "The driver fell to the ground and failed to display his hands. The driver was given verbal commands but refused to show his right hand. The Trooper was unaware if the driver was still armed."

Lucas "maneuvered as if he was attempting to get up again," the statement continued, prompting the trooper to utilize what the GSP called "a foot strike."

Georgia State Patrol trooper kicks man
The video showing a Georgia state trooper appearing to stomp on a man before handcuffing him. ATL Uncensored

"The Trooper applied a foot strike to the center of the driver's body and then another to the driver's right-hand area which appeared to still be in the waistband," the statement added. "Once the Trooper observed the driver did not have a weapon, he placed the driver into custody."

GSP said the trooper found the gun on the sidewalk after placing Lucas in handcuffs.

"Per [Department of Public Safety policy, all instances of use of force are documented and reviewed by an employee's respective chain of command," the statement added.

The video, captured by a bystander, prompted activists to say the use of force was excessive. "You have someone on the ground already," Atlanta-area activist Scotty Smart told WSB. "There's no need to stomp on them."

A Georgia State Patrol Trooper repeatedly STOMPED on a suspect after a chase. This officer's actions are INEXCUSABLE! He chose to harm a man already on the ground rather than de-escalate the situation. The officer must be held accountable for this brutal display of force! pic.twitter.com/m2nHHXi37K

— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) October 7, 2021

It also attracted the attention of Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who has represented the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people killed by police.

"A Georgia State Patrol Trooper repeatedly STOMPED on a suspect after a chase," Crump tweeted. "This officer's actions are INEXCUSABLE! He chose to harm a man already on the ground rather than de-escalate the situation. The officer must be held accountable for this brutal display of force!"

But Charles Rambo, a former Fulton County deputy who has sat on use-of-force boards, told WXIA-TV that the trooper's use of force may have been reasonable given what he believed at the time.

"The trooper acted in good faith and was not malicious in what he was doing, if he legitimately saw a firearm, which they say was recovered, and was potentially stolen," Rambo said.

"I would have hated to see that officer or that trooper use his service weapon, so in my humble opinion he did act with reasonableness."

The Georgia Department of Public Safety's use of force policy says troopers can use force in situations "where the use of force reasonably appears necessary in order to affect a detention or an arrest, overcome resistance, control a subject or protect themselves or others from injury."

It adds: "The evaluation of a member's use of force will be undertaken from the perspective of a reasonable member on the scene, not through the 20/20 vision of hindsight."

Lucas, 27, of Decatur, is on probation for a previous assault and has an active warrant for simple battery, the GSP said. He was charged with fleeing, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, possessing a firearm with an altered serial number and other offenses.

UPDATE10/4/21 9:00 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information from the Georgia State Patrol.

A Georgia State Patrol vehicle
A Georgia State Patrol vehicle sits parked outside State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia on July 28, 2019. Raymond Boyd/Getty Images