A woman who alleged she was brutalized by a Fort Valley police officer after her arrest in September could wind up facing additional charges after the case was cleared Tuesday by the District Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia.
India Martin reported that Lt. Antoinne Jordan pushed her in the hallway at the Medical Center of Peach County, Navicent Health, causing her to fall, split her head open and receive stitches for the injury.
The 22-year-old posted pictures on Facebook of a gash on her head with text that stated, “#policebrutality is NOT always white on black crime. I'm going to personally ask EVERYONE to share this post. This happened at the Fort Valley Police Department by an officer Jordan who LIED to my mother about how this occurred. He actually led her to believe that this happened at my home, which is NOT TRUE.”
Martin was arrested and charged with family violence battery on Sept. 23, two days before the pictures were posted online. She also alleged Jordan handled her roughly, causing bruises to her arms.
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The incident was investigated by the GBI.
On Tuesday afternoon, the district attorney’s office told the Fort Valley Department of Public Safety that “there was not sufficient evidence to believe that Lt. Antoinne Jordan or any other officer had committed a crime related to their interaction with India Martin,” the department posted on its Facebook page about noon Wednesday.
Public Safety Director Lawrence Spurgeon said in the posted media release that he has “spoken to the district attorney’s office about the possibility of additional charges against India Martin based on the findings in the case file.”
Spurgeon declined later to elaborate.
“One of the most unsettling traits of social media is that anyone, regardless of qualifications or actual knowledge about an event, can make false accusations against someone else,” the chief wrote in the release. “Equally disturbing is that a substantial amount of people believe what they read on the internet as if it were fact. In the case of law enforcement officers false accusations disproportionately effects the officers professional reputation. An officers integrity is the bedrock of his ability to effectively do his job. It can be incredibly difficult to counter these false accusations on social media but ... we must take every complaint seriously.”
After its investigation was completed, the GBI turned its findings over to the district attorney’s office for review, said J.T. Ricketson, special agent in charge of the Perry GBI office.
“We only looked into the use of force,” Ricketson said Wednesday. “We did not look into the incident that occurred that got her into police custody. That would be investigated by Fort Valley (police).”
The GBI was not able to review surveillance video from the hospital as part of its investigation.
“What we were told was (the hospital) had video but they were having problems with their server, and so when they went to the server, (the video) went into wherever, and we were not able to have that,” Ricketson said.
Ricketson said he did not know if the video would have shown the incident.
“I don’t know the answer to that because I didn’t see it,” Ricketson said. “Some people said they saw it, but again, that’s their interpretation. I didn’t see it myself.”
District Attorney David Cooke released this statement:
“Based upon my review of the case, there’s insufficient evidence to show that Lt. Jordan has committed a crime. The case against Ms. Martin is still under investigation.”
The investigation is complete against Jordan, clearing him of the accusations against him, said Amy Leigh Womack, officer of community engagement for the district attorney’s office.
“We cannot comment on the evidence other than to say that we’ve cleared the officer of any wrongdoing,” Womack said.
She referred comment about the investigation of Martin to the investigating agency, and Spurgeon said he wanted to confer with the district attorney’s office before commenting on the possiblity of additonal charges against Martin referenced in his media release.
While the GBI investigation is complete, Jordan, who is on paid administrative leave, remains under an internal affairs investigation by Fort Valley police, Spurgeon said.
Martin could not be reached for comment Wednesday.