Georgia Police Brutality and
-- The Inspector General's Office of the U.S. Justice Department has
the power to investigate misconduct by thousands of federal employees.
But it is not clear that anyone is policing the man in charge here.
Office of Inspector General looks over the shoulder of everyone in the
Justice Department, from correctional officers to prosecutors. But we
found that the special agent who runs the inspector general's Atlanta
office appears to be violating rules that would get other employees in
potentially serious trouble.
Cameras caught Special Agent Bill King walking to his government-issued
vehicle, tossing his gear in the back seat and driving away at nearly 7
p.m. one evening last February.
seems inconsequential, but King seems to be flagrantly violating one of
the clearly stated rules he's paid more than $100,000 a year to enforce.
Benners retired last year as a special agent who worked in the Atlanta
inspector general's office. He says it's an integrity issue. Before
retiring, he said he complained to the top brass in Washington, D.C.,
that King was violating department policies. "It's very clear that the
vehicle is strictly for government use and not for our normal and
routine commute," Benners said. "Nothing else."
said that agents sign a document in which they agree to the policy.
very clear that the vehicle is strictly for government use and not for
our normal and routine commute," Benners said. "Nothing else."
GEORGIA -- A former Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department
officer who pleaded guilty Friday to felony eavesdropping and
misdemeanor stalking took a deal offered by prosecutors without
admitting culpability, his attorney said Saturday.
Fields' defense attorney, Greg Crawford, who could not be reached for
comment Friday, said his client used a U.S. Supreme Court decision from
1970, North Carolina v. Alford. The ruling allows criminal defendants
to accept a plea deal without admitting guilt.
maintains he did not stalk or record his estranged wife, Crawford said.
joined the former Savannah Police Department in the late 1970s and
moved to the Chatham County Police Department, in 1993. In 1997, he
returned to SPD, where he worked as a homeless officer until he was
fired in January over the stalking allegations.
said Fields took the deal so that he could get out of jail, where he
was being held without bond.
L. Frye Fields, the former police officer's wife, told police her
husband began stalking her after she filed for divorce last year. The
couple separated last November after four years of marriage.
GEORGIA -- A Lee County deputy accused of fatally shooting a teenager
during a traffic stop and then planting a knife in the young man's
truck to mislead investigators has been indicted on a charge of
involuntary manslaughter, despite pleas from demonstrators outside the
courthouse who wanted him tried for murder.
grand jury also indicted Donnie Spillers, a captain with the Lee County
Sheriff's Department, on charges of tampering with evidence, making
false statements and writings, and violation of his oath of office
stemming from the Feb. 14 shooting death of Rodger Wesley Beaver, 17.
the grand jury met Tuesday to consider the case, about a dozen
demonstrators, including Beaver's grandparents, stood outside the
courthouse holding signs demanding a murder indictment.
was a good kid and no kid deserves to be shot in the head for basically
nothing," said Sabin Russell, who said Beaver had been his son's best
Sgt. Sandra Pressley stopped Beaver's truck in response to a pawn shop
shot Beaver while the teen sat in his pickup truck and then placed a
knife in the truck to mislead
Bureau of Investigation agents who investigated the death, authorities
Attorney Cecilia Cooper said the evidence did not warrant a murder
hate that Mr. Beaver is dead," she said. "I hate that he'll never take
another breath, but I can't charge someone with murder if the facts
aren't there to warrant it."
attorney, Patrick Edison of Leesburg, said he was happy the grand jury
chose to indict his client only on non-felony charges.
Thats right Georgia is now a police state. If you think its part of the
U.S.A. your DEAD wrong! During the G8 conference this year, if you
decide to exercise your rights to FREEDOM of Speech, the police can and
will shoot and kill you!
I hate to say this but after 9-11, you will notice the government to
begin to take away certain freedoms we have, all in the name of "war on
May 25th John Ashcroft made a press release to the public about
potential terrorist attacks that will be carried out this summer.
stated that this threat is highly probable, and that there is a grave
danger of our nation being struck this summer. During this press
release he stated that there were three high priority targets that
would be considered major threats. These targets were: THE DEMOCRATIC
NATIONAL CONVENTION, THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION, and THE G8
CONFERENCE. The point of this is not to debate whether or not Al Qaida
will strike these targets, but rather is to look at this announcement
in terms of what it means to the activist community. By announcing that
the G8 conference is an Al Qaida target, Ashcroft increased the chances
for the governor of Georgia to approve imposing a state of emergency
during the conference. This would then result in the “shoot
order being instated while the meeting is taking place.
is something we all need to be aware of. The powers of oppression have
used the War [of] Terror to raise the stakes yet again. They are
authorizing the use of lethal force against any, and all threats that
“THEY” deem appropriate. This is scary, especially
after watching the
pepper spraying of children, and the non-lethal application of force on
the elderly and disabled, that has happened in the past year all over
June 26th, 2004 -- A Richmond County sheriff's deputy has been charged
with sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl.
Schriner, 34, of Grovetown was arrested Thursday on sexual battery
charges, said Columbia County sheriff's Capt.
Morris. The alleged incident occurred earlier this month. Schriner has
been suspended without pay. Authorities aren't releasing specifics
about the case because it is still under investigation.
was released on $10,100 bond from the Columbia County Detention Center
on Thursday. He is a seven-year veteran of the department and worked at
06/24/04 -- Columbus police officer James Iturralde was released on
$7,500 bond from the Muscogee County Jail Wednesday before his
scheduled appearance in Recorder's Court.
faces charges of being a Peeping Tom and threatening or bribing a
witness on Monday.
31, was arrested after he was accused of peering over a wall at a nude
woman at the Aloha Tan salon, 6381 Milgen Road. The 23-year-old woman
told police Iturralde offered her $190 in exchange for her silence.
case was bound over to Superior Court.
has been placed on administrative leave without pay until an
investigation is completed by the department.
Involved: James Robert ``Bobby'' Womack
-- James Robert ``Bobby'' Womack, the Jenkins County sheriff, illegally
put inmates to work at his timber business, mobile home park and his
home for more than a decade. Under Georgia law, it is a felony
punishable by up to five years in prison each time a sheriff uses
Officers Involved: Randall Williams
-- Accused of misconduct police officer Randall Williams was jailed on
charges of simply battery, assault under the color of office and
violation of oath of office. investigators found that Williams hit a
handcuffed prisoner in the face with his fist.
He has been released from jail on a two-thousand dollar bond and has
been suspended without pay.
4/29/2004 -- A 12-year-old boy accused of strangling an 8-year-old
neighbor girl was interrogated for four hours without his parents or an
attorney present before reportedly admitting to his involvement in the
crime. "My client steadfastly maintains his innocence in this case,"
said his lawyer, Gerald Word. "If there was an admission, it was not
only under duress, it was flat wrong. I imagine I could have this
12-year-old admit to killing John Kennedy." It was only after lengthy
questioning that the boy, whose name is not being released by
authorities, made a statement to investigators that led them to believe
he killed an 8-year-old. The boy was then charged with murder. The boy
claims he was "repeatedly called a liar" during the interrogation and
was not read his rights before being questioned, Word said. He never
admitted to harming the girl, Word said.
01/24/2006 - DEKALB COUNTY -- DeKalb County police officer Patricia Ann
White is on the other side of the law after officials say she was
arrested for battery.
say Officer White was arrested for allegedly battering her 15-year-old
son. According to the police report White admitted to grabbing and
pushing her son after she had two beers.
Louis Graham of the DeKalb Police Department says at least 37 officers
have been involved in domestic violence related crimes in the past
was trying to discipline her son--a 15-year-old--he was not obeying her
orders or commands at which time a struggle ensued," Sgt. Charles
Dedrick with the DeKalb County Police Department said, "...She grabbed
him, pushed him down or threw him down to the sofa at which time other
people inside the residence got involved and DeKalb police responded."
White has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an
is being held on $2500 bond at the DeKalb County Jail.
- A group of people broke into the Marshallville police chief's home
and burned it down early Friday, a few hours after a man died in police
custody, authorities said.
broke up a crowd that had gathered downtown in the city of 1,300 as
word spread about the man's death.
Walker, 48, died at a hospital after two Marshallville officers sprayed
him with pepper spray Thursday night while he was resisting arrest on
warrants for probation and parole violations, authorities said
1 a.m. Friday, several people broke into Police Chief Stephen Stewart's
home and set it on fire, destroying it, said John Bankhead, a spokesman
for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
one was home at the time of the fire, Bankhead said, and investigators
were determining whether the blaze was connected to the man's death. No
arrests had been made Friday morning.
is about 90 miles south of Atlanta.
01/10/2006 - DeKalb County Police arrested and charged one of their own
on Friday night. Officer Zachary Kronenberger was arrested after an
investigation that he tried to break the rules to help a friend.
acquaintance of Officer Kronenberger received some traffic citations
from another officer from within the department, and those were the
tickets in question,” said DeKalb Police Officer Cory Hughes.
say Kronenberger offered money to the officer that had written the
tickets -- asking that he drop them and let his acquaintance go.
That officer turned the matter over to other investigators, and now
Kronenberger is charged with two felonies.
be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the
investigation, so he has to go through the criminal justice process at
this point,” Hughes said.
As a result, a 4-year career at the DeKalb County Police Department is
now in jeopardy.
He is charged with influencing an officer and violating his oath of
01/02/2006 - A deputy who's been with the Fulton County
Office for almost a decade was charged Thursday with stealing and using
an inmate's debit card, the department said.
Heard, who has worked as a deputy since 1996, was assigned to the
booking area of the jail when he allegedly took the card from a man who
had been brought in on drug-related charges, a department spokeswoman
booked into the jail have to surrender their possessions, which are
secured until they are released, said spokeswoman Nikita
would not go into how much money Heard allegedly spent. But she added,
"We're not showing any proof that this has happened before."
But the one
alleged instance was enough for Sheriff Myron Freeman to indefinitely
suspend Heard without pay, she said.
was arrested about 4 p.m. Thursday and charged with theft by taking,
violation of the oath of office, and financial transaction card theft.
He was out on bond Thursday night. A court date has not been set.
- An Opelika police officer has resigned after being arrested and
accused of sexual abuse. Auburn police officers arrested Keith Preer on
November, 16, 2005, and charged him with second degree sexual abuse.
36, was Opelika's "Officer of the Month" in December, 2004, for his
work in the D.A.R.E. program, but now he's out of a job. He stepped
down Monday after being arrested by the Auburn Police Department. He
was arrested after police received a complaint of sexual abuse.
to Auburn police, the complaint was filed during the summer. Preer was
Opelika's head D.A.R.E. officer and was on the force for nine years.
Preer has now been charged with sexual abuse, second degree.
to Alabama law, that is a Class A misdemeanor. Second degree sexual
abuse involves a victim older than 12-years-old and younger than 16.
According to Lee County District Attorney Nick Abbett, the penalty for
a Class A misdemeanor is up to one year in jail and/or up to a $2,000
officials say their investigation is still ongoing. Opelika Police
Department officials say Officer Preer submitted his resignation
Monday, and Chief Thomas Mangham has accepted it.
11/19/2005 - A former Gwinnett County police officer has been arrested
and charged with theft and identity fraud.
Officer Lisa Turner was a Gwinnett County officer for four
years. She left the department two years ago.
Turner is accused of using checks from her homeowners association after
she had been fired from that position, and also applying for, and using
a credit card in her boyfriends name without that boyfriends permission.
Gwinnett police call it identity fraud.
“Identity fraud is the fastest growing crime in the United
States,” said Darren Maloney of the Gwinnett County Police
Turner says she did nothing wrong and that the charges are false. She
says she plans to fight them in court.
Police investigators say there may be more charges, but none
of them involve her time in the Gwinnett County Police Dept.
investigation is still active, even though she's just been charged with
these two, I'm told there are other offenses that we've come across in
their investigation,” Maloney said.
The formal charges for Turner are theft by taking and financial
11/16/2005 - ATLANTA - A woman who says she was slammed to the
and arrested by a police officer at Atlanta's airport has been paid
$350,000 to settle a lawsuit.
settlement with Stockbridge resident Diana Dietrich-Barnes had been
secret. But insurance carrier AIG Aviation gave the city permission
Tuesday to release it, said Jerry DeLoach of Atlanta's law department.
attorney, Harlan Miller, said Dietrich-Barnes was satisfied with the
settlement and ready to move on.
still trying to get over it," Miller said.
of the settlement comes just a few days after Atlanta's civil service
board ruled there was not enough evidence to fire Officer Terrance
Alexander for his treatment of Dietrich-Barnes. The city is appealing
that decision, so Alexander has not been reinstated with the Atlanta
Police Department, DeLoach said.
video camera captured the Nov. 2, 2004 incident at Hartsfield-Jackson
Atlanta International Airport and the footage was broadcast around the
had circled the airport several times looking for her 78-year-old
mother, who was arriving from Houston, when she stopped her vehicle at
the curb to check her itinerary. Alexander told her to move and the
outside mirror of her vehicle bumped him when she started to back up,
is when Alexander pulled her from her car, threw her to the pavement
and handcuffed her.
claimed Dietrich-Barnes had hurt him by slamming her car door into him.
But the officer's supervisors dropped charges against the woman after
reviewing the video.
Police Department later fired Alexander after an internal investigation
found he used unnecessary force.
the incident, officers at the airport have undergone training to help
avoid potentially volatile encounters with travelers rushing to and
from the airport.
10/20/2005 - Thomasville - The Thomas County Sheriff's Office
is investigating one of its own.
arrest report shows that jailer Beverly Elaine Simmons was arrested
Tuesday night. The 35 year old is charged with sexual assault
person in custody and violation of oath of office.
may have been arrested while at work. The report
states that her
handcuffs and holster were taken from her at the time of arrest.
10/12/2005 - MOBILE - A Georgia deputy has been arrested and charged in
Alabama with trafficking cocaine, the FBI said Wednesday.
Dwayne Turner, 40, a Fulton County sheriff's deputy in Atlanta who
works as a jail corrections officer, was arrested by FBI agents and
Mobile County sheriff's deputies on Tuesday, FBI special agent in
charge Debra K. Mack said in a statement.
of Jonesboro, Ga., was arrested in the parking lot of a local
restaurant near the intersection of Interstate 85 and East Avenue in
criminal complaint against Turner was filed Oct. 5 before U.S.
Magistrate Judge William E. Cassady in Mobile, charging Turner with
conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.
complaint resulted from a joint probe by the Mobile County sheriff's
office and the FBI in Mobile, the statement says.
convicted, Turner could be sentenced to a maximum 40 years in prison
and a $2 million fine.
10/01/2005 - EMERSON
— Five empty patrol cars sat outside the police station in
Bartow County city Thursday after the chief and half of his officers
quit their jobs.
Chief Edward Bell quit the 13-officer
department Wednesday rather than obey orders from the new city manager
to fire half his force. Bell's assistant chief and five officers
followed him out the door.
"I told them I would not take the liability on myself of
getting an officer killed," Bell said Thursday.
City Manager Larry Clark said, in effect, good riddance.
is a small hiccup," said Clark, who's been on the job about two months.
He blamed the resignations on "some disgruntled employees."
debatable whether this city about a mile north of the Cobb County line
— population 1,248 — is such a hotbed of crime that
the city is now
endangered. But certainly the commotion has the hamlet buzzing.
"It's scaring a lot of people," said Neil Myers, who works at his
uncle's truck repair shop a block from City Hall.
Without police protection, Myers said, his uncle is concerned
that he may have to stay at his shop at night to prevent theft.
Dorothy Tidwell and her nephew Tony Dover, who live just across the
highway from the repair shop, have no such concerns.
"The only thing that I know," Tidwell said, "is that Emerson has too
Mayor Henry Jordan said the city is well-protected.
"I talked to the Bartow sheriff and the State Patrol, and they're going
to help out," he said Thursday.
"I've got police on duty right now."
Dover, 25, who grew up in Emerson, said the reaction of most
residents he talked to was "surprise, more than anything."
Suburban development from nearby Cobb hasn't quite reached Emerson.
The town has one blinking caution light and got a Dollar General store
last year. Otherwise, commerce is thin.
much has changed since his childhood, Dover said. "There's no crime,
really," he said. "It's a good place to bring up kids."
police recorded no murders last year, and there was only one in Bartow
County, according to state figures. In fact, the mayor couldn't
remember the last murder in the town.
"Seems like there was
one, but it's been a long, long time ago," Jordan said. "I'm 69 now and
I've lived here since I was 5 and I just don't remember one."
said the city's police force of six full-time and seven part-time
officers — one cop per 96 residents — was too big
national average of sworn law enforcement officers is one for each 435
residents, according to the latest figures available from the FBI.
cities with populations of fewer than 10,000 people, the average ratio
is one officer per 303 residents, according to the FBI's uniform crime
Pine Lake in DeKalb County, where city officials say about 900 people
live, has one officer for every 180 residents.
The dispute between Bell and Clark has been simmering almost from the
day Clark arrived.
and Assistant Chief Mike Powell said Clark tried to micromanage the
police department. Bell said Clark threatened to fire him the day after
he took over as city manager.
"He threatened to fire me 17 other times and threatened to suspend me
three times," said Bell. "It just went on and on."
Clark said he was city manager in Forsyth and in Grantville, in Coweta
County, before coming to Emerson.
He said he differed with the chief many times but denied ever
threatening to fire him.
"They made the mistake of trying to strong-arm a South Georgia boy who
has been doing this for 20 years," Clark said.
said he told Bell to reduce the number of officers, but said he asked
him to seek only Powell's resignation. "The assistant chief had
slandered me in the local newspapers, and I'm tired of it," Clark said.
Jordan, who is backing the city manager, said he was surprised and
disappointed that the two men couldn't work things out.
09/22/2005 - The
family of a man who died at the Gwinnett jail after being repeatedly
shocked with a Taser has filed a federal lawsuit against members of the
The wrongful death suit was filed this
week in U.S. District Court in Atlanta by attorneys representing the
family of Ray Charles Austin. It is the first of two Taser-related
lawsuits expected to be filed by the families of inmates who have died
after scuffles at the jail. Attorneys for Frederick Williams, an inmate
who died in a similar altercation eight months after Austin, say they
plan to file a lawsuit soon.
Brian Spears, one of Austin's attorneys, said he is seeking
unspecified monetary damages in behalf of Austin's two children.
lawsuit alleges that Austin was shocked eight times with a Taser, which
is more than the sheriff's department reported when the incident
occurred. After Austin's death Sept. 26, 2003, the sheriff's department
stated he had been shocked "at least three times" with the stun gun.
suit names Sheriff Butch Conway, three of his deputies allegedly
involved in the altercation, and Prison Health Services, a
Nashville-based company that provides medical services for the jail.
said he had not seen the lawsuit and referred questions to the county
legal department. The law department did not return a reporter's phone
Officials from Prison Health Services also said they had not seen the
would not be appropriate to comment on any pending litigation or about
a patient's confidential records," said Susan Morgenstern, a company
Austin's attorneys allege in the suit that the
24-year-old man would not have died if deputies and a jail nurse had
not forced him to take medication, shocked him eight times, beat and
A ttached to the lawsuit were documents that
Austin's attorneys say are evidence of the number of times he was
Tasered. One document was described as a sheriff's department printout
of the discharges of the Taser gun used in the incident. The other is a
previously unreleased police report that states that the stun gun was
discharged eight times in a 13-minute period.
doesn't lie," said Spears. "The printout shows how many times the
weapon was discharged. And the last discharge of the Taser corresponds
very closely with the time he stopped breathing."
The altercation was not captured on videotape as was the later incident
never regained consciousness after the altercation. During the
struggle, sheriff's department officials have said, Austin bit off a
portion of a deputy's ear.
Austin, who had been diagnosed as
schizophrenic, was arrested for a probation violation linked to a
charge of obstructing a police officer. On the night of his death,
medical staff at the jail decided that he needed to be medicated to
calm him down. Austin struggled with deputies when they tried to get
him out of his cell.
After Austin bit the deputy, he was
punched and shocked repeatedly with the stun gun, the suit alleges. He
was also choked, injected with psychotropic drugs and restrained in a
chair, it said. Austin lost consciousness shortly afterward.
medical examiner reported that Austin died of a heart attack but the
autopsy did not clearly determine what caused the heart attack.
Austin's attorneys allege that jail medical officials ignored a
doctor's warning that he should not be forcibly medicated. The warning
was in his jail medical file, according to the suit. Medical personnel
and deputies also ignored Austin's wishes of not being medicated even
though Austin had signed jail paperwork stating that he had the right
to refuse medical treatment, according to the suit.
the decision on the part of . . . medical personnel to proceed with
forced administration of medication, Austin would not have resisted,"
the lawsuit said. "He would not have been in the altercation . . . and
would not have died."
09/12/2005 - Witnesses at The Breaker Box club in Lanett say police
showed up and got physical this past Saturday night. News Leader 9 has
been given an amateur video of the incident at a Christian heavy metal
to witnesses, a teenager was calling home to get a ride when police
threw him into a light pole and then onto the ground.
saw two Lanett police officers. One of them grabbed a young black male,
head-locked him, ran him into this pole, slammed him to the ground, put
their knee in his back and cuffed him," said John Keith.
the lead singer of "Only After Faith" grabbed his video camera.
blow to the back of the head, and a couple of knees to the back. They
finally got a little 13 or 15-year-old boy in the car," said Adrian
video apparently shows the boy, without handcuffs, refusing to get into
the car. The officer uses his nightstick to force him into the back
police, they cannot comment on the case until an independent
investigator looks into the incident.
his investigation is complete, if there's a violation of policy or law,
then we'll take steps to address the situation at that time," said
Chief Ron Docimo, Lanett Police Department.
say people were being pulled from their cars by the officers after
trying to leave the club. Keep in mind, we haven't heard the police
side of this story yet.
Leader 9 asked Docimo if this was standard procedure, if the officers
have been suspended, or if police cameras show anything different. He
said he is not allowed to comment until after an investigation has been