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BCSO, GBI investigate employees for excessive force, lying

POSTED: August 31, 2014 12:00 p.m.

Four Barrow County Sheriff’s Office employees have left the agency after being accused of using excessive force, lying in reports and having an affair with a former inmate.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into incidents involving two deputies and their supervisor after a Winder man was punched while being arrested in July. Also, recently a Barrow County detention officer resigned after she admitted to having an affair with a former inmate.

Internal investigations performed by the BCSO led to the firing of Deputy Bradley Arnold for use of excessive force as well as the resignations in lieu of termination by Deputy Brandon Willis and Lt. Candler Pace for their reaction to the incident.

Former detention officer Kindra Maddox resigned in mid-August after admitting to keeping in contact with eight former Barrow County inmates, including having a sexual encounter with one of them.

Sheriff Jud Smith said he contacted District Attorney Brad Smith after reviewing a tape of the July 1 arrest of Shane William Reese, who was struck while arrested that day. They then decided to contact the GBI because of potential criminal activity.

The complaint that spurned the internal investigation did not come from Reese, Smith said.

""It appears these officers tried to cover up their actions and we found out about it and swiftly got rid of them," he said.

Smith said any allegations of misbehavior against his staff are taken seriously.

"Neither I nor the DA’s Office condones this activity by any employee, he said. "It all happened within a two week period and we’ve been corresponding back and forth with the GBI."

The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council will determine if the deputies can keep their certification to remain in law enforcement.

"Any resignations in lieu of termination are turned into POST," Smith said.

Arnold was fired after admitting to striking Reese while the 23-year-old was handcuffed.

Arnold was among several deputies responding July 1 to search for a missing three-year-old. While on the scene authorities say Reese said he was looking for the child in the woods, but a family member of the kid said they did not know him.

Authorities quickly found that a warrant was out on Reese in Loganville and they found a clear bag containing what appeared to be methamphetamine by him.

A knife became a focal point of the incident as conflicting reports came out if Reese was attempting to grab the knife during the arrest. Reese appeared to be attempting to flee, but stopped after being shoved to the ground by Arnold, according to one of the interviews during the internal investigation.

"Instead of ceasing the use of force, Arnold jerked the subject up and began to sling him to the ground," one of the deputies said in the interview.

The case investigator wrote in the internal investigation report that, "the video itself does not show any resistance being offered by the subject."

This was not the first instance of Arnold being accused of using excessive force. There is pending litigation against him stemming from a 2009 incident, according to Smith.

Willis, according to the investigation, repeatedly denied seeing any punch thrown by Arnold during his July 14 interview. His memory, however, was "refreshed" after seeing a video showing him facing Arnold when the alleged punches were thrown.

"(Lt. Matt) Guthas inquired further, asking if the video refreshed his memory or if he simply failed to tell Lt. Guthas," the report said. "Willis went back and forth for several minutes. He continued to stand up (apparent nervousness)."

Pace also resigned after admitting he made changes in some of the incident reports. One of the deputies told the investigator that Pace said changes needed to be made so that the reports matched up.

"He was changing the facts of the case I believe to try to justify striking (Reese)," Smith said.

Pace told the investigator that one of the changes he made to Willis’ report was "totally inaccurate" and that he "misrepresented" what Arnold and another deputy said about the knife.

"Lt. Pace did allege he was under the impression the knife was out, even though this is contrary to all deputies written and verbal statements," the internal investigation said. "This, however, does not change the fact he was not authorized to make such changes on Arnold’s behalf."

 

Improper relationship

On Aug. 19, Maddox resigned in lieu of termination after admitting to having a sexual encounter with a former Barrow County inmate.

The detention officer was cited in the investigation for conduct unbecoming of an officer and for violating the honesty clause.

During an interview Maddox initially said she associated with seven former inmates, but denied having a physical relationship with any of them. She later admitted that there was some "sporadic hugging and kissing" with another former inmate that she met at a Monroe gas station.

She said that former inmate contacted her on Facebook after he was released from the Barrow County jail. Maddox also received numerous phone calls from him while he was in the Walton County jail, she told the investigator.

She later admitted that there was sexual activity at least one time with him.

Maddox violated a prohibited association policy, Smith said, which includes putting the BCSO in a compromising position when employees have personal relationships with current or former inmates.

Maddox, like Arnold, Willis and Pace, made poor decisions then attempted to cover them up, he said.

"It is my policy that if you lie, you are terminated," Smith said. "A lot (of them) are resigning in lieu of termination."

 

COMMENTS

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1 comment
oliviasdada1: September 1, 2014 12:48 a.m.

Good job Jud!!!!



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