Police failed to properly search a woman arrested in Atlanta on suspicion of car theft who slipped out of handcuffs and shot at officers inside their patrol car with a gun she had concealed before they fatally shot her, the city’s police chief said on Friday.
The woman, Alexia Christian, should have been thoroughly searched by a female officer before being transported after her arrest on Thursday night when she was found inside a truck that had been reported stolen, and that did not occur, Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said.
It also is not clear whether the two officers who arrested Christian, 26, patted her down before placing her in the patrol car, which, as males, they are allowed to do with a witness present, Turner added.
The officers handcuffed Christian and were asking her name when she freed one hand, pulled a pistol she had stolen from the truck and fired three shots from the back of the patrol car during the incident in downtown Atlanta, Turner said.
The officers exited the car and returned fire, killing her, Turner said. The officers, who were not hurt in the incident, are on leave with pay pending an investigation, police said.
The incident occurred amid heightened scrutiny of the use of force by police in the United States, especially against black and other minority suspects. Christian was black, as were the officers involved in the incident, police said.
(Editing by Jonathan Kaminsky and Will Dunham)