ATLANTA — Atlanta police repeatedly hit a man suspected of shooting an officer in the face and continued after he passed out from a seizure during his arrest, the man’s sister said Friday.
Police arrested shooting suspect Frank Nance, 20, on Jan. 11, shortly after Officer Reginald Robinson was shot in the face.
Nance has a history of suffering from major seizures and had one while officers were hitting him, Theresa Nance said Friday at the Fulton County Courthouse.
She said that other family members had spoken to her brother and that he said he passed out; when he came to, officers were still hitting him, she said.
Officers had him on the ground with their knees pressing into his back and neck, Nance’s brother Robert Nance said. Nance’s whole face was beaten and swollen, his neck was hurt, his nose appeared broken, four his teeth were knocked out and two others were loosened, Robert Nance said.
In a mug shot released after Nance’s arrest Jan. 11, the suspect has several bloody cuts on his face and appears to be wearing a neck brace. Police have declined to release any more details on what caused Nance’s injuries, and police spokesman Carlos Campos had no comment on the family’s claims Friday.
Police have said Robinson was questioning a man over a suspected drug deal around 6:30 p.m. Jan. 11 when the man fled. The suspect shot the rookie policeman once in the face during the foot pursuit, police said.
Robinson, 35, graduated from Atlanta’s police academy in November. He remains in the hospital recovering from his injuries, police said.
Shortly after Robinson was shot, Officer Andre Bent caught up with the suspect and grabbed his arm, according to a police report. Nance then turned toward Bent with his left hand coming up, and it wasn’t clear whether he had a weapon or something else in his hand, Bent wrote.
“I then felt scared for my life and for my fellow officers on the scene. So therefore having fear for my life I then came up with my service weapon and hit the suspect in the face,” Bent wrote. “As a result my service weapon accidentally discharged once toward the sky.”
Officer Steven Blackmon, who also responded to the call of an officer injured, wrote in his report that Nance “fought with officers and sustain lacerations to his face and arm area.”
Nance was charged with aggravated assault, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, cocaine possession and other offenses.
Police have opened an internal investigation into the arrest, which is standard procedure any time an officer’s gun fires, Campos has said.