Police arrested 20-year-old shooting suspect Frank Nance Jan. 11, shortly after Officer Reginald Robinson was shot in the face.
Nance has a history of suffering from major seizures and had one while officers were hitting him, Theresa Nance told The Associated Press in an interview Friday at the Fulton County Courthouse. She said other family members had spoken to her brother and he said he passed out and that when he came to, officers were still hitting him, she said.
Officers had him on the ground with their knees pressing into his back and neck, Nance’s brother Robert Nance said. Nance’s whole face was beaten and swollen, his neck was hurt, his nose appeared broken, four of his teeth were knocked out and two others were loosened, Robert Nance said.
In a mug shot released after Nance’s arrest Jan. 11, the suspect has several bloody cuts on his face and appears to be wearing a neck brace. Police have declined to release any more details on what caused Nance’s injuries, and police spokesman Carlos Campos had no comment on the family’s claims Friday.
Shortly after Robinson was shot, Officer Andre Bent caught up with the suspect and grabbed his arm, according to a police report. Nance then turned toward Bent with his left hand coming up, and it wasn’t clear whether he had a weapon or something else in his hand, Bent wrote.
“I then felt scared for my life and for my fellow officers on the scene. So therefore having fear for my life I then came up with my service weapon and hit the suspect in the face,” Bent wrote. “As a result my service weapon accidentally discharged once toward the sky.”
After he was hit by the gun, Nance fell to the ground, and two other officers handcuffed him and took him into custody, Bent wrote. No one was hurt and no property was damaged by the gun firing, Bent wrote.
Officer Steven Blackmon, who also responded to the call of an officer injured, wrote in his report that Nance “fought with officers and sustain lacerations to his face and arm area.”
Nance was charged with aggravated assault, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, cocaine possession and other offenses.
Police have opened an internal investigation into the arrest, which is standard procedure any time an officer’s gun fires, Campos has said.
Nance’s family has reached out to lawyers and is considering filing a complaint with the police department about his treatment during his arrest but has not yet done so, Theresa Nance said.
The family also claims Nance was taken to jail before receiving medical treatment and only received care at the jail medical facility after he was booked.
The police report says Nance was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital for treatment following his arrest.
Grady spokeswoman Denise Simpson said she cannot confirm whether someone in police custody was brought in for treatment. Fulton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan said she can’t say definitively what happened to him before he was booked into the jail. But she said the jail does not allow someone who is injured or ill to be admitted until the person has been checked by a doctor and has received medical treatment.
Nance was set to appear in court Friday, but his hearing was delayed until next Thursday because a detective wasn’t available to testify, a prosecutor said. A public defender assigned to Nance’s case declined to comment.
Records show Nance has been arrested several times over the past few years, including in April on assault and battery charges.
Police have said Robinson was questioning a man over a suspected drug deal in southwest Atlanta around 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 11, when the man fled. The suspect shot the rookie policeman once in the face during the foot pursuit, police said.
Robinson, 35, graduated from Atlanta’s police academy in November. He remains in the hospital recovering from his injuries, police said.