ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- Former Atlanta Police Officer Matthew Johns was sentenced to 20 years to serve five in Fulton County Court, on Monday.
Johns previously pleaded guilty to assaulting an unarmed teen during a traffic stop in 2016. Johns had been with the Atlanta Police Department for nine years when he was seen on dash camera and body camera video kicking then 15-year-old Antraveious Payne on September 16th, 2016.
ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- An ex-Atlanta Police Officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to assaulting …
Prosecutors with the Fulton District Attorney’s Office say that Payne was riding in a stolen car when several officers pulled the driver over. Prosecutors say that Payne surrendered to authorities by lying on his stomach on the pavement with his arms outstretched, showing he did not have a weapon. The teen was hospitalized with bleeding in his mouth, cuts, a neck strain and a concussion.
CBS46 reporter Brittany Edney was in court during the sentencing. Read her tweets below:
Upd: Dr. David Anthony, a Psychologist who works primarily w/ PTSD/trauma patients, is on the stand. He says he gave #MatthewJohns a psychological examination. Adds, he looked at any trauma Johns had through his life, PD & military experience. Also says drug screening was clean.— Brittany Edney (@BrittanyEdney) August 26, 2019
Prosecutor Clint Rucker is now asking Anthony about Johns' evaluation. R: Just because you suffered a traumatic event, does that means you get PTSD? A: No. R: Did Johns tell you that he suffered from PTSD? A: No. R: then why did Johns lie on his work report?— Brittany Edney (@BrittanyEdney) August 26, 2019
Rucker wants to know where the threat was that day when the victim was laying down on the ground & Johns was kicking the teen in the head? Anthony says Johns may have thought fellow officers were threatened as part of PTSD. A: it could have been an instinctual response.— Brittany Edney (@BrittanyEdney) August 26, 2019
Ruck just asked about Anthony's military response & said, "were you trained to hit people in the head when they are laying on the ground?" A: No. Ruck says he doesn't believe Johns military experience had anything to do with his actions.— Brittany Edney (@BrittanyEdney) August 26, 2019
Defense: is it possible that Johns didn't lie on APD work report but that was his perception?— Brittany Edney (@BrittanyEdney) August 26, 2019
Anthony: there's a chance that he saw it the way that he saw it (from his PTSD.)
Former Atlanta Police Officer Matthew Johns was sentenced to 20 years to serve 5, today.— Brittany Edney (@BrittanyEdney) August 26, 2019
Paul L. Howard, Jr. District Attorney of Fulton County, issued the following statement:
“While criminal justice systems across this country struggle to investigate, prosecute, and hold police officers accountable, in Fulton County a law enforcement officer pleaded guilty today.
There were no demonstrations or marches by concerned citizens, no chants, or any destruction of property. It was not necessary because the criminal justice system did exactly what concerned citizens demand of it; fairness, transparency, and action. "The case was investigated by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. No special prosecutor from another jurisdiction was required.
The case was indicted by a citizen grand jury from Fulton County and moved forward to the Superior Court Bench for final disposition.
Once the case was received, the judges did not recuse themselves or appoint a Senior Judge to handle the matter. Neither did they issue some arbitrary immunity order blocking the State from moving forward.
The police officers involved provided dash cam video which captured the entirety of the incident. Once the officers viewed the tape, they stated their colleague and fellow officer was wrong and agreed to testify against him. The officer was fired, not placed on administrative leave by his very own police chief, his own peers.
Today, he accepted responsibility and entered a guilty plea. Today, the Fulton County Criminal Justice System worked!”
Johns pleaded guilty to all eight counts in the indictment, which included:
- Three counts of aggravated assault
- Aggravated assault strangulation
- Two counts of false statement
- Two counts violation of oath by a public officer