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Multiple videos go viral on TikTok, Millen police officer resigns

Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 8:03 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A Millen, Ga., police officer has resigned following multiple viral videos showing what appears to be an officer engaging in sexual misconduct on the job.

Police Chief Dwayne Herrington says he knew about a video and was set to meet with officer Larry “Ben” Thompson on Monday afternoon, but Thompson resigned before the meeting. Herrington would not confirm what video the meeting was about.

The video and resignation sparked our interest in asking more questions about former Officer Thompson.

From the tower climber’s TikTok, you can tell it’s from a high vantage point and distance. You can make out a cop car, the cemetery, and some patches of dirt and bushes. Comments on the post say it was taken off White Oak Road in Millen. On the satellite camera, the area matches the description.

“Some agencies have a very low tolerance for some types of arrests, and some might have a much higher punishment,” said Chris Harvey, deputy executive director, Georgia POST.

Investigation documents show, in 2017, Thompson shot another officer in the arm in what the incident report calls an ‘accidental discharge’. Thompson claims he was cleaning his gun when it got jammed and discharged.

The findings report the weapon had no malfunctions that would have led to a discharge, and it should be considered ‘negligent’.

In 2019, Thompson was responding to a call, t-boned a car going 86 miles per hour. Ultimately the 76-year-old driver he hit died from his injuries. Last year, a woman he had a prior relationship with told police he was harassing her.

Thompson later admitted to inappropriately running her tags to get her new address, was placed on a two-day unpaid suspension and had to complete GBI security awareness training.

“There really is no, is not standard for policies and policy enforcement across the state,” said Harvey.

And because Thompson didn’t face severe punishments for these investigations, they don’t appear on the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council’s Records. The only information listed is his work experience, promotion a year after the fatal accident, and his voluntary resignation on March 21, a day after the video was posted.

Actions are reported to POST if the officer is terminated, resigns under investigation, or is suspended for more than 30 days.

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