I-TEAM: Deputies break silence on suspect’s claims they attacked him

Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 6:32 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Two former Richmond County deputies are breaking their silence about what they say really happened the night a fellow deputy was shot in the face.

Quincy Cannon, Robert Wilson and Andrew Acosta were arrested after the suspect, Vernon Cratic Jr., claimed they assaulted him in an elevator while he was handcuffed.

A grand jury decided not to indict the deputies, clearing them of all their charges.

But Cannon and Wilson say that’s not enough.

That’s because when it comes to justice, they believe they are the victims in this case.

With the suspect in custody, they pulled up to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office headquarters just before 4:30 a.m.


It’s difficult to see anything on the surveillance camera, but Cannon and Wilson say that after a very long shift, their body cams’ batteries ran down.

Each said his camera died at the scene.

Then Cratic claimed he was beaten while handcuffed once the deputies were able to get him alone in the elevator.

There's no video from the elevator where officers took suspect in deputy shooting, but this footage is available.

“I’m thinking there’s cameras at the sheriff’s office or in the elevator,” Quincy said. “Apparently, there’s no cameras in the elevator.”

Wilson said: “We thought cameras was all over the place.”

Cannon: “Yes. It’s the Sheriff’s Office. It’d been better if we took them to the jail. Because there’s no shadow of a doubt there’s cameras at that jail we should have. I wish I would have took them to the jail instead.”

Cannon said they took him to the sheriff’s headquarters “because we were instructed to take him to the sheriff’s office.”

Had cameras been rolling, Cannon says we would’ve seen Cratic try to head-butt them.

He says his training kicked in.

Quincy said: “I hit him with my left hand. That’s my weak hand. I said, “Stop.” … It was two quick strikes to gain control over him. He stopped. I stopped, and that was the end of that.”

It happened so fast, Wilson says he never saw anything.

Wilson said: “‘Since it happened in the elevator, and you was in there, you must have known about it.’ I was like, ‘Even though my back was turned?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, you failed to report it.’ I was like, ‘Report what? Something I didn’t see?’ And that’s what’s had me, I guess, aggravated and upset the whole time. ... I get charged on assumptions by what the investigator felt.”

Photos of Cratic after the incident show the only visible injuries are to his lip.

Vernon Cratic Jr.'s lip
Vernon Cratic Jr.'s lip(Contributed)

But both Cannon and Wilson say they believe that happened prior to any of this.

They both say they’re shocked it rose to the level of criminal charges, but what came next was more shocking.

They were told they could resign and maybe get their jobs back or be terminated.

Wilson chose to be terminated.

Cannon chose to resign.

Cannon says there’s a double standard from what he says the I-TEAM uncovered.

For example, Deputy Ty Dailey punched an arrestee in the face several times and didn’t report it, and he wasn’t discipline until the I-TEAM exposed it.

Dailey was not fired and did not resign.

“I’m trying to figure out the difference between the two,” Quincy said.

He added: “You got Stack A over here involving Hispanic deputy a Black MP and a white deputy, you got Stack B over here involving two Caucasian deputies. ‘Let’s burn him. Let’s give them a second chance.’”

Just last month, the I-TEAM confirmed Dailey is once again under investigation – this time for a deadly accident in his patrol car.

But it’s not just Dailey.

Cannon says there’s the case of a deputy hitting an inmate in jail and a deputy not even disciplined after the I-TEAM exposed him hitting a man having a mental health crisis.

But for Cannon and Wilson, the most blatant example might be Deputy Brandon Keathley, who was indicted by a grand jury for assaulting a fellow deputy who was giving CPR to a man dying from a gunshot wound.

“And he’s on administrative leave,” Quincy said.

“He’s collecting a paycheck because two people couldn’t get along. While somebody’s dying. … We need to work together. And he’s still he’s still getting paid.”

The I-TEAM asked to sit down with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office for an interview to answer questions about what certainly appear to be inconsistencies with how deputies are treated.

The agency has not gotten back to us.

As for Cannon and Wilson, both are moving forward.

Cannon is back working in law enforcement with another local agency.

And Wilson is working in security.

Both are looking at taking legal action.