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Two officers cited in arrest of Atlanta man during Freaknik

May 13, 1997

ATLANTA (AP) _ A televised videotape showing police striking a man with nightsticks and dousing him with pepper spray has led to the discipline of two officers.

Police contend Timmie Sinclair, 27, ran a roadblock, nearly hit an officer and then attacked another officer when police tried to arrest him.

Chief Beverly Harvard, announcing the results of an investigation Monday, found wrongdoing by police but also disputed some Sinclair’s claims. He had claimed he had received permission from an officer to pass through the traffic-control barricade because he was going to get medicine for his baby daughter. He also claimed he was denied medical attention after the April 20 arrest.

The roadblock was set up for Freaknik, a spring-break celebration that attracts thousands of black college students to Atlanta each year. A Freaknik participant videotaped the beating of Sinclair, an Atlanta resident, in a supermarket parking lot and sold the tape to WSB-TV.

Attorneys for Sinclair, who is black, have not suggested that there was a racial motivation in the actions of the officers, some of whom are white.

Witnesses differ over who attacked whom, but police radio logs show that the officers who arrested Sinclair were responding to a report he had tried to run over a police officer, Ms. Harvard said.

Sgt. W.R. Myers, 44, will be cited for excessive force in clubbing Sinclair after he stopped resisting, Ms. Harvard said. Officer B.K. Rainey, 27, will be cited for the ``inappropriate action″ of telling the person videotaping the arrest to turn off his camera, said police spokeswoman Jan Northstar.

A departmental panel will recommend the officers’ punishment, Ms. Harvard said.

Kim Harris, an attorney for Myers, said any disciplinary action against her client would be appealed.

Sinclair’s attorney, Albert Mitchell, was only partly satisfied by Ms. Harvard’s response, saying four other officers involved in the arrest should also be disciplined.

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