DeKalb County Sheriff Tom Brown said he understands why his deputies were frustrated when serving a warrant last month but they will still be disciplined for their over-aggressive actions and abusive language.
The bad acts were brought to light by a family video that has gone viral on the Internet.
“I’m sure the officers were teed off because the family kept them outside for a (half) hour and told them they had the wrong address,” said Brown, who is considering running for Congress. “But the behavior of my officers was totally unacceptable and it will not be tolerated. It will be addressed and addressed very quickly.
Donavan Hall and his younger brother shot the video on the cell phones on July 26. The edited 20-minute video shows the officers outside the family’s Ellenwood home at 1:30 AM.
They were there to arrest the boys mother Natania Griffin on a civil warrant.
The family, however, thought they heard the deputies give a different address and kept telling the officers they had the wrong address. The video contends the family members feared they were about to become crime victims.
Brown notes, however, it was clear from the blue lights in the background and the fact that the officers were crowded outside knocking on the door rather than crashing through it that they were legitimate law enforcement and not home invaders.
The family call 911 where the operators also told them to open the door. The family eventually complied.
That’s when the trouble for seven deputies and one sergeant started. The officers abusive and profane language is documented by the video.
Brown, an elected official, was not amused. The deputies, he said, shouldn’t have let their frustrations get the best of them. It made them look like the bad guys.
Hall told Channel 2 Action News that the deputies loud banging woke up the family — his mom, his brother and his little sister — and when they finally opened the door the deputies charged in and abused them.
“Once I get back here I’m like ‘Please stop,’ the officer’s gun butts me in the face and then I fall backwards,” Hall said.
The warrant said Griffin failed to pay a $1,000 fee. Griffin told Channel 2 Action News the deputies’ action was overkill considering her offense.
Deputies refused to answer the famiy’s queries about why the were at the house when they were banging on the door, Griffin said.
“Fifteen (days) overdue, why would you come to my house with this unbelievable show of force?” Griffin said. “When they would not establish to what they wanted, we believed that they were at the wrong house because we would never think they would come arrest me for a civil fee.”
Griffin has since paid the money she owed.
Brown did not say what action he will take against the deputies.