Airport case won't be prosecuted

By Todd DeFeo

Clayton County's two prosecuting offices are declining to pursue charges against a Stockbridge woman arrested after a run-in with an Atlanta police officer at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Diana Dietrich-Barnes, went to the airport about three weeks ago to pick up her mother and was charged with illegal parking, battery and obstruction. Police say she was illegally parked and as she moved her Ford Explorer, a side view mirror struck Officer Terance Alexander, prompting him to "physically" remove Dietrich-Barnes from the Explorer and arrest her, police said.

After reviewing a surveillance video of the incident, however, police dropped the charges.

Alexander, who remains on medical leave, later obtained a warrant in Clayton County for Dietrich-Barnes' arrest. A hearing was scheduled for Monday, but Clayton County Solicitor General Keith Martin said neither he nor Clayton County District Attorney Bob Keller will attend that hearing.

"I reviewed the video looked over the DAs report, which includes all the documentation from Atlanta police, and decided there was absolutely no reason to go forward at this time," Martin said. "If something is uncovered in the APD internal investigation or any other investigation, then either I will review it or my successor will."

Keller was unavailable for comment Friday.

WXIA-TV this week played portions of the surveillance video, which shows an officer – identified by the television station as Alexander – removing Dietrich-Barnes from her Explorer. The officer then forced Dietrich-Barnes face down on the pavement and other officers gather around the two.

There have been 24 complaints filed against Alexander, WXIA-TV previously reported. The officer has been punished 13 times, according to the station.

"I can't get over it?it makes me mad," Dietrich-Barnes told WXIA-TV. "I just thank God this was all on tape."