A 25-year-old man says an Atlanta police officer beat him and knocked him unconscious during a struggle outside a Midtown gay bar after the man was asked to leave the venue.
Anthony Walters, 25, said he was badly beaten and hospitalized after a confrontation with an off-duty Atlanta police officer on Oct. 16 outside Bulldogs on Peachtree Street. The officer was providing security and had asked Walters to leave.
The officer, Yasin Abdulahad, is also accused of fatally shooting a man in January outside an Atlanta police annex.
“I just want justice for the situation. That’s all. I just want to find out what I did to deserve to look like that,” Walters told WSB.
Abdulahad, dressed in his Atlanta police uniform, was working as an off-duty security officer at the bar, according to an Atlanta police incident report. A Bulldogs staff member told Abdulahad that Walters was harassing a bartender and was asked to leave the bar but refused, Abdulahad wrote.
The officer approached Walters and asked him to leave the bar, he asked why and then left out a back door. Abdulahad then told Walters he had to leave the property.
“Mr. Walters took a few steps while on his cell phone and continued to look at his phone,” Abdulahad wrote in the incident report. “I advised him he was not permitted on the property and he continued to ignore me.”
Abdulahad waved his hand in front of Walters' face, but he continued to look at his cell phone. The officer then told him he would escort him off the property if he did not leave. Abdulahad then said a friend of Walters' approached and told him that a police officer was speaking to him. That's when Walters' erupted, according to the police report.
“Mr. Walters then stated, 'I don't give a fuck about that flashlight cop. He ain't nothing but a fucking flashlight cop. He ain't the real police,'” Abdulahad wrote in the report.
The friend then grabbed Walters and told Abdulahad that Walters was drunk as he continued to yell, according to the incident report. Walters then tried to re-enter the bar. As a second officer approached, Abdulahad wrote in his report that he again warned Walters to leave the property or that he “would have to force him off the property.”
The incident then turned physical, according to the incident report.
“He put all his things in his pockets and took almost what appeared to be a fighting stance without balling his hands into fists. I then grabbed Mr. Walters' left arm with my right hand and as I was turning him he balled his right fist and swung it striking me on the left side of my forehead knocking my hat off,” Abdulahad wrote in the report.
Both officers grabbed Walters, but Abdulahad waived off the second officer and tackled Walters' to the ground. With Abdulahad on top of Walters, the officer handcuffed him.
“Mr. Walters continued to struggle as I was getting him up and came out of my hands and went to the ground again. When I picked him up again he let his body go limp and I layed [sic] him on the ground,” Abdulahad wrote.
Within a minute, Walters fell asleep and “appeared to be snoring a bit,” Abdulahad added.
The second officer called an ambulance, which Abdulahad noted in his report took “almost 30-45 minutes” to arrive.
“While I assisted Grady with placing Mr. Walters onto the gurney he began to vomit profusely off the right side of the gurney,” Abdulahad wrote.
Abdulahad charged Walters with disorderly conduct while under the influence. The report noted that police found a small baggie containing less than two grams of marijuana on Walters.
The report, which was filed four days after the incident, does not document any injuries that Walters may have sustained during the struggle.
'I don't remember any of that'
Walters told the AJC that he had a few drinks prior to the incident but that he would never hit a police officer.
“I don’t see what I could have done to anybody to deserve having my face beat in like that,” Walters said. “If he told me to leave, I would’ve left.”
Walters also told WSB that he doesn't recall the incident.
“Because I was knocked unconscious, I don't remember any of that.”
Walters said he didn't file a complaint about the incident on the advice of his attorney. A police spokesperson said Walters has refused to be interviewed by police, which is hampering the agency's investigation.
“In order for us to do a fair investigation, we must have both sides of the story,” Sgt. Warren Pickard told WSB.
Attorney Chris Stewart, who represents Walters and the family of the man Abdulahad killed outside the police building, questioned whether the 11-year police veteran can be trusted, according to the AJC.
Stewart said there are striking inconsistencies that cast suspicion on Abdulahad’s actions outside Bulldogs.
“Nobody should ever strike an officer, but then (Walters is) not charged with assault on an officer,” he said. “He’s not charged with felony obstruction. He’s not charged with any of that stuff.”
On Wednesday, Atlanta police spokesperson Officer D.T. Hannah told Project Q Atlanta that Abdulahad was off duty at the time of the incident and filed the incident report when he returned to work, which resulted in the four-day delay.
Abdulahad was placed on administrative leave after the fatal shooting in January, which also means he is prohibited from working off-duty security jobs, Hannah said. He was not aware if Abdulahad worked at Bulldogs after the October incident.
The police department's LGBT liaisons were not notified of the incident, Hannah said. Agency policy dictates the liaisons are notified only when a hate or bias crime is suspected, he said.