Criminal Justice

Video captures officers' aggressive conduct while serving civil warrant for overdue fee


Video of deputies’ aggressive conduct during service of a civil warrant for failing to pay a $1,000 fee has led to repercussions for the officers involved.

Three DeKalb County sheriff’s deputies have been suspended and a sergeant could be demoted if he doesn’t retire, report the Raw Story, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CBS Atlanta and WSBTV.com. Officers were at the home at 1:13 a.m. to serve the warrant on a woman identified as Nantania Griffin in two of the reports, and Natania Griffin in two others. Her sons secretly recorded video from the top of the stairs and posted it on YouTube.

The video of the July 26 incident begins with a narrative that explains the family was awakened by banging on the door and the realization that three sheriff’s SUVs were parked outside. Griffin’s son, Donovan Hall, can be heard calling 911 at one point. Hall wrote online that he asked the 911 operator to send a police captain to the home to make sure they would not be harmed and was promised someone would arrive. No one ever showed up, and the family opened the door after 20 to 25 minutes, Hall said.

Officers then charged into the home, arresting Griffin and handcuffing the sons off camera. People shout “we are not doing anything wrong” during the video.

“You acted like a 2-year-old, so we treated you like a 2-year-old,” one of the deputies says during the video. Hall told WSB that deputies kicked and punched him and stood on his head.

Griffin told WSB her debt was only 15 days overdue. “Why would you come to my house with this unbelievable show of force?” she asked. “We believed that they were at the wrong house because we would never think they would come arrest me for a civil fee.”

DeKalb County Sheriff Tom Brown told the Atlanta Journal Constitution in a previous story that deputies were likely “teed off because the family kept them outside for a [half] hour and told them they had the wrong address.” But he said the deputies’ behavior was “totally unacceptable” and they would be disciplined for over-aggressive actions and abusive language.

See also:

How did America’s police become a military force on the streets?

Police use of SWAT tactics has gotten out of hand, says author (podcast)

10 police raids gone wrong (photo gallery)

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