“There is severe neurologic injury, severe blunt force injury to the head demonstrated in the medical records,” Wilson said.
The doctor explained that Brianna’s injuries include a scalp hematoma, multiple skull fractures, brain hemorrhaging, damaged blood vessels, “severe” brain compression, and what’s known as subfalcine herniation. Wilson said that happens “when the brain becomes so swollen that it shifts from one side to the other.”
The doctor also explained what are known as coup and countercoup brain injuries present in Brianna’s case. “What can sometimes happen when the brain or the head has an impact at one site, the brain can move inside of the skull, and that can cause injury directly opposite to where the impact occurred,” Wilson said. “And so you may end up with injuries on one side and injuries on the other side.”
Brianna Grier’s family had called authorities several times seeking mental health services when they again decided to do so for Brianna on July 15. She was having a mental health episode, said Ben Crump, a noted civil rights attorney who is representing Grier’s family. Only this time, an ambulance service didn't arrive with deputies as it had in the past, according to Brianna's family. Body-camera video shows one perspective of what happened when deputies arrived. Brianna can be seen trying to convince deputies that she was not intoxicated despite their allegations.
“I can smell it on you,” one of the deputies said. Brianna responded: "I'm not drunk. I haven't had anything to drink.” Even though she begged deputies to let her use a breathalyzer, they instead decided to handcuff Brianna and put her in the back of a patrol car.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation later confirmed that when deputies put Brianna in that car, they did not use a seatbelt, nor did they assure both back doors were closed before pulling off with her.
"The deputies closed the rear driver’s side door," the agency said in its news release. "The investigation shows that the deputy thought he closed the rear passenger side door.
“The deputies left the scene and drove a short distance. Body camera footage reveals the deputies had no other contact with Grier from the time she was placed in the car until she fell out of the moving car.”
Crump said he’s hoping to get Brianna’s parents more answers about what led to their daughter’s death so they can explain it to her 3-year-old twin daughters.
“Her life matters,” Crump said of Brianna. “Black women's lives matter, and we’re going to continue to make sure that Hancock County or anybody else in government authority can (not) sweep the death of this lovely young woman, this mother, this daughter, under the rug.”
Attorney Eric Hertz, who’s acting as Crump’s co-counsel, listed what he said were “failures” in responding to the call from Brianna’s parents. He said the body camera wasn’t immediately turned on when deputies arrived, an ambulance wasn’t called, and deputies didn’t recognize this was a mental health issue.
“The officers escalated the situation using unnecessary force,” Hertz said.
Brianna was dropped at least once on the concrete before “being flung into a vehicle,” Hertz said. Deputies didn’t seatbelt her, turn a dome light on to see her in the backseat, or check on her, Hertz said.
He asked why no noise was heard from Brianna in the backseat even though the deputy’s breathing could be heard on body-camera footage. Then, Hertz redirected his attention to Brianna.
“What did Brianna Grier do that night,” he asked. “From the video, I don’t see she did anything wrong. She didn’t threaten anyone. She didn’t have a weapon. She didn’t try to flee.”
“Everyone in the United States has a right to be free from an unreasonable seizure from the law enforcement officers,” Hertz added. “This is our Fourth Amendment right. No officer has a right to use unnecessary force to show reckless indifference to human safety.”
Watch the full press conference announcing the medical effects of Brianna Grier’s encounter with deputies: