Police officers beat people on video, a lot. And, more often than not, the officers will keep their jobs in spite of video evidence of the attack. However, an attack on a teenager by an Atlanta cop was so egregious that it did, in fact, cost him his job. And now, it is costing him his freedom. Officer Matthew Johns was indicted on eight felonies for the savage beating of a 15-year-old boy last year and this week, he was sentenced to 20 years.
As previously reported, Johns was indicted on eight felonies, including four counts of aggravated assault, two counts of violation of oath by an officer and two counts of giving false statement for repeatedly kicking and choking a 15-year-old boy until he was unconscious and then lying about it. Johns pleaded guilty on July 10, and was sentenced on Monday to 20 years with five to serve in prison in connection with the 2016 incident.
Antraveious Payne’s mother said her son’s behavior changed for the worse and he started to experience chronic headaches after Johns attacked him.
Johns was indicted on eight felonies, including four counts of aggravated assault, two counts of violation of oath by an officer and two counts of giving false statement for repeatedly kicking and choking a 15-year-old boy until he was unconscious and then lying about it.
Johns pleaded guilty on July 10, and was sentenced on Monday to 20 years with five to serve in prison in connection with the 2016 incident reports TFTP.
Disturbing dashcam footage revealed Johns beating the Atlanta teenager even when he offered no resistance, but what made the police officer’s case even bizarre is that Matthew had road crash with his cruiser a few weeks prior and was barred from driving, but managed to check out a vehicle and used it to ram another car, then beat the teen and lied about the entire ordeal.
Former Atlanta Police Officer Matthew Johns was sentenced this evening to 20 years to serve 5. pic.twitter.com/FfTgkvP4PX
— Fulton County DA (@FultonCountyDA) August 26, 2019
Matthew Johns was part of the department’s elite Apex Unit doubling as a Marine and on September 15, 2016, in southwest Atlanta, WSB-TV reported then that Antraveious Payne and two teenage suspects riding in a stolen car were given a chase by Zone 3 officers and Georgia State Patrol.
It was during the chase that Johns alighted from his cruiser and kicked Payne in the head. The video also showed he kicked the teen more than once, struck him on his side repeatedly and then was seen kneeling on his neck before punching him in the head while cuffing him.
Johns told investigators he thought the teen was reaching for a gun. But one of his supervisors didn’t think his story added up, especially when the other officers on scene said the three suspects never resisted.
Prosecutors, using the video of the incident, agreed, noting that Payne got out of the car and laid on the ground with his hands up, showing he did not have a weapon and was willing to surrender.
Nevertheless, Johns still beat the hell out of him until the teen fell unconscious. Payne was beaten so badly by Johns that he was hospitalized with a concussion and suffered multiple lacerations to his face.
According to the report, after the incident, Johns was placed on administrative leave and no action was taken until a new police chief took office and reopened the case.
Johns was then fired. However, for beating a compliant suspect for no reason, he faced no criminal charges—until more than a year later.
A lawsuit by Payne or his family is likely to emerge which could cost the taxpayers of Atlanta despite Payne breaching the law by riding in a stolen vehicle because of Johns’ excessive use of force.
It does appear Johns actions are not unique as a recent investigation from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution analyzed 184 fatal police shootings in the state of Georgia since 2010 and according to the data, at least 70 people were shot in the back by police officers.