What an expert says about video that’s getting cops investigated

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 7:25 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’re continuing to follow an internal affairs investigation by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office into this video making the rounds on social media.

We showed you the video Wednesday capturing moments of a dispute between two men and deputies. At one point, the woman recording the incident falls to the ground. Deputies report she tripped. The woman says her arm is broken as a result.

There are still a lot of questions about how deputies handled the situation. We talked to a retired law enforcement attorney who says he believes the deputies did their job correctly.

The video has reached 2,200 shares on Facebook. It has hundreds of you talking about the deputies actions in the video - wrestling, throwing punches, and the moment where a deputy rushed toward the women recording. Now that it’s under investigation we looked into what exactly goes into this type of investigation.

“These incidents that come up like this are very rare,” said Freddie Sanders.

Last Saturday, Richmond County deputies approached what they called a suspicious vehicle in the Red Roof Inn parking lot. According to the report the conversation turned into an attempted arrest after officers say they smelled marijuana.

“I don’t got nothing, bro! I don’t got nothing, bro!” said Jaquez Paschal.

That led to a struggle between three deputies and the suspect.

“Please!”, please!” the woman recording pleads.

The women recording got a little closer to the scuffle.

“Back up! Back up!” the deputy says to the woman recording

Next the deputy rushes towards her and she falls. According to the report she tripped over a parking stop.

“You have to keep people back when those things are going on because you don’t know what they’re gonna do,” said Sanders.

Sanders is a former police chief and attorney. He says as the sheriff’s office investigates the incident they’ll look at a few things.

“They will look at that video, they will look at the body cameras on those deputies and they will talk to witnesses,” he said.

They’ll be looking for signs a deputy broke the code of conduct.

“The standard you have to go by is what a reasonable officer would do in that situation,” he said.

According to the handbook, Richmond County deputies are allowed to use physical force as a way to protect themselves or others.

“It’s not, ‘Well I think he could maybe talk to him longer or maybe he could have walked away and let him go.’ You can’t do that,” he said.

He says even a deputy didn’t choose the best response the decision is based of if the response was in any way reasonable during the situation.

“If they believe the officers are wrong then they’re gonna let it be known they believe the officers are wrong,” he said.

Again, Sanders says he thinks the deputies actions are considered reasonable. But if they are found to have broken the handbook or internal affairs concludes they could have handled the situation better the deputies could face suspension.

Sanders also says internal investigations like this could take anywhere from a week to several weeks. It just depends on how quickly investigators are able to interview witnesses and get the video they need in order to review.

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