‘He used excessive force’: Off-duty cop caught on tape punching woman in the face at an Atlanta IHOP
She had come into the IHOP for a late-night coffee with friends.
But Cynthia Freeman left in handcuffs after a scuffle broke out between her and an off-duty police officer who then punched her in the face.
The incident, which happened at around 4.30am on Sunday, at the IHOP in Buckhead, Atlanta, was captured on video and later plastered over YouTube.
The videos have since been taken down from the website and the incident is being investigated by Atlanta Police.
However the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that several of the videos posted on YouTube showed the officer, whose name is not known, shouting at a woman sitting in the corner of a booth near the door of the restaurant.
He is seen lunging at her while a woman wearing a black dress tries to separate them. The officer then appears to slap the second girl who hits him back before he punches her in the face.
A second officer, also not named, then gets involved apparently trying to separate the pair. The first officer can then be seen pulling the woman across the table and onto the floor.
He then lies on top of her while trying to put handcuffs on her wrists.
Seconds later a female officer appears to hold back the crowd while the handcuffed woman is led out of the restaurant.
Freeman and three others were arrested. Freeman was charged with obstruction of justice, criminal trespass and simple battery, according to her attorney Bobby Aniekwu.
Aniekwu is also representing two of the other women involved in what he considers to be a case of ‘excessive force.’
He added that there was a ‘great likelihood’ they would start litigation proceedings.
Freeman’s friend Roberta Caban told Channel 2 Action News the police officer went overboard.
She and her girlfriends had gone to the IHOP to get coffee when the police officer told her to be quiet, she said.
‘I felt so bad for her, for anybody to go through that,’ Caban said.
‘No one would tell us why we were arrested, no one would tell us anything,’ she added.
‘And we wind up spending over 24 hours in jail.’
The Atlanta Police Department said in a statement: ‘The matter has been referred to our Office of Professional Standards to determine whether department policies and procedures were followed.
‘Further comment at this time would not be appropriate.’