‘I just want answers’: Kin await cam footage after man’s death

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 7:45 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Four Richmond County deputies — Richard Russell, Leslie Gaiter, Parker Leathers and Christopher Brown — are on leave after a traffic stop took a fatal turn.

On Tuesday, we heard from the mother of Jermaine Jones Jr., who says she’s waiting on body-cam video to paint the full picture.

“I just want answers ... because nobody’s child deserves that,” said Keyana Gaines, Jones’ mom. “Once these videotapes come back, they’ll hear a whole lot more.”

Jones, 24, died Monday after spending the past week in a coma and on life support. He was hospitalized after a stun gun was used on him during a traffic stop last Monday. Incident reports say he was shocked after running from deputies when they found a handgun and crack pipe in the car. Deputies’ report on the incident also speaks of a “brief struggle.”

READ THE JERMAINE JONES JR. INCIDENT REPORT:

There are a lot of questions, but by far the biggest is what left jones brain dead. Was it the stun gun? Could he have hit his head on the ground? Or could something else have happened to him after he was taken into custody?

Of all the questions on what put Jones here ...

Jermaine M. Jones Jr. was in critical condition after an encounter with Richmond County deputies.
Jermaine M. Jones Jr. was in critical condition after an encounter with Richmond County deputies.(WRDW)

... there are things known for certain, according to his family.

“I knew when I walked up there yesterday, before the doctors even told me when I walked in there I knew my son was gone. There was nothing nobody could have said,” said Gaines.

And there are other things we’ve found out for ourselves:

  • We know Investigator Russell, the one who pulled the trigger on the stun gun, renewed his certification to do so last year. According to a 2019 Richmond County Sheriff’s Office handbook, that stun gun would have recorded how long Jones was shocked for and put in a report.
  • We also know one of the deputies at the scene, Gaiter, was investigated in August for rushing toward a woman recording her son’s arrest.
  • And we know the body camera footage for the Jones case could bring answers.

“I don’t have faith in the justice system,” said Gaines. “But I’m not going to give up.”

Meanwhile, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and sheriff’s agency have their own digging to do.

Jones’s death means one new piece of evidence: an autopsy.

“I want my son’s name — he’s going to be heard until I can’t shout it no more,” she said.

When body-camera footage is released, the family plans to protest, they say.

“Once these videotapes come back, they’ll hear a whole lot more,” Gaines said.

We’ve requested that body camera footage, the use-of-force report for the stun gun, personnel files and the outcome was for the August use-of-force case involving Gaiter. We’re told he was not put on leave in that case, but we still don’t have those other details about that investigation or this one.

Keep in mind a lot of things cannot be released by the sheriff’s office because this is an active investigation.

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