Usually, police work is quite different than simply keeping a family bowling alley safe and secure, but those two worlds collided for a veteran Woodstock police officer last year.
The bout with a man who police said was heavily inebriated ended up leading to the officer’s resignation and 10 months away from law enforcement work.
But it won’t lead to criminal charges.
Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace announced Wednesday that a grand jury cleared former Sgt. Randy Milligan of any wrongdoing during an arrest at a Stars and Strikes last year that left the suspect with a broken leg.
The jury found that the officer’s use of force was “justified and authorized under Georgia law,” Wallace said in a news release.
The incident took place April 6 at the bowling alley on Ga. 92, AJC.com previously reported. The manager told Milligan, who was working a second job at the entertainment establishment, about a customer who appeared unresponsive, according to a police incident report.
The man, Calvin Jamel Taylor, was slumped over in a chair near the pool table area. It took Milligan several attempts to wake up the 38-year-old man, who is from Hollywood, Fla.
When Taylor did wake up, the officer noticed his pupils were dilated and his speech was incoherent and slurred, the report said. Milligan tried to help Taylor outside for medical treatment, but the incident quickly became combative.
In the report, Milligan wrote that “Taylor turned around directly toward me, striking my arm with his to purposefully force me away.” He added that the man was yelling obscenities and threats at the officer, while families and children witnessed the struggle.
Milligan tried to arrest Taylor, who continued to resist, the report said. The officer tried to use his Taser, but it didn’t have the result Milligan expected.
“Upon being struck, Taylor had no reaction, pulled the wires away from his body and looked at me yelling, ‘Now what, (expletive),’ while taking an aggressive stance,” Milligan wrote.
A second use of the Taser was equally ineffective, so Milligan took out his police baton. He hit Taylor several times on the arm and leg as backup arrived. The man was eventually subdued by six officers.
Before being taken to jail, Taylor underwent an X-ray at WellStar Kennestone Hospital, which revealed that he suffered a broken leg during the scuffle, the report said.
The incident was not captured on body camera video because Milligan had left it charging at police headquarters. It was recorded by at least two cameras at the bowling alley, however, but the footage has not been made public.
Taylor was charged with simple battery of a law enforcement officer, public intoxication, disorderly conduct and obstruction.
Milligan was placed on paid administrative leave due to the GBI being called in to investigate the use of force. The 13-year department veteran, who supervised Woodstock’s Special Operations Group, resigned from the department amid the investigation.
The GBI wrapped up its case and presented its findings to the DA’s office. The grand jury was presented evidence from the GBI, other Woodstock police officers, a Stars and Strikes employee and a Georgia Public Safety Training Center tactical instructor in addition to Milligan, the release said.
Taylor and his attorney were provided the opportunity to appear before the grand jury, but they declined, the release said.
“Based on all of the known facts and circumstances in this matter and on the recommendation of the Grand Jury, the District Attorney’s Office does not intend to take any further action,” Wallace said.
Taylor pleaded guilty to public drunkenness and obstruction in late October, Cherokee County Solicitor General Todd Hayes said. The two other charges of simple battery on a law enforcement officer and disorderly conduct were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
He was sentenced to one year on probation, 40 hours of community service, and ordered to undergo a substance abuse evaluation, court records show. He’s also prohibited from returning to the bowling alley where the incident occurred.
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