YSL trial: Deputy on desk duty after scuffle with defendant

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Deputy had previously been fired from South Fulton police department

A Fulton County deputy involved in a scuffle with one of the YSL defendants has been placed on administrative duties following a complaint filed by an attorney representing the defendant.

Investigator Morris Kandakai, a member of the sheriff’s office Scorpion Unit, has been placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office told Channel 2 Action News. Kandakai was involved in a scuffle with Rodalius Ryan before the inmate was transported to the Fulton County courthouse on Monday.

Ryan, who is charged with one count of violation of the state’s RICO act in the sweeping YSL case, is currently serving life in prison for a 2019 murder. He was also charged, along with co-defendants Kahlieff Adams and Damone Blalock, in an alleged contraband exchange involving Adams and Atlanta rapper Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffrey Williams.

A complaint was filed Wednesday by Ryan’s attorney, Angela D’Williams, with the sheriff’s office alleging Ryan was the victim of “an unwarranted attack” by Kandakai while he was being transported from the jail to the courthouse.

“The officer took it upon himself to lodge an assault on Mr. Ryan. Although every deputy is equipped with a body camera, Investigator Kandakai intentionally did not activate his body camera, while viciously attacking Mr. Ryan,” D’Williams wrote in the complaint.

Department policy requires all members of the Scorpion Unit to wear body cameras, Channel 2 reported.

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

On Monday, D’Williams said her client had suffered injuries to his legs, hands and head and was checked for a concussion at the courthouse. In the complaint, D’Williams alleges Kandakai punched Ryan in the head and dragged him out of the vehicle, which caused him to hit the sidewalk.

Although his body camera was off, D’Williams said there should be a dash camera or camera on the patrol vehicle that captured the deputy’s actions that will “provide for transparency and give clarity into the incident”. Kandakai’s patrol vehicle was not equipped with a camera, Channel 2 reported.

According to an incident report, Ryan allegedly began spitting in the back of the patrol care while awaiting transport. Kandakai told Ryan to stop spitting and told him he would have to clean it up, according to the report.

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Ryan allegedly replied, “I’m not cleaning up (expletive),” and spit through the rear partition at the deputy. According to the report, Kandakai was hit in the face with the spit.

According to the report, the deputy reached inside the vehicle to remove Ryan, when he allegedly stiffened his body and laid flat in the back of the patrol car. As a result of Monday’s incident, Ryan was charged with misdemeanor simple assault and obstruction of police.

Morris said Ryan began moving his legs in a kicking motion to prevent the deputy from grabbing him, according to the report.

Credit: Photo provided by Angela D'Williams, attorney for Rodalius Ryan

Credit: Photo provided by Angela D'Williams, attorney for Rodalius Ryan

According to the complaint, D’Williams asked the sheriff’s office for an investigation by an outside agency given Kandakai was previously under investigation while he worked at the South Fulton Police Department.

“Based on investigator Kandakai conduct as a police officer, there is a concern that he is handling people without transparency by failing to follow protocol, by not having his body camera activated,” D’Williams wrote in her complaint. “This assault is unacceptable and there needs to be a thorough investigation conducted by an outside entity.”

Kandakai was terminated by the South Fulton Police Department on July 6, 2020 for violating several department policies, according to Georgia Peace Officer Standardas and Training Council (POST) records. The agency is in charge of certifying officers.

During a shoplifting arrest, Kandakai ran up and dropped to a knee in the area of a suspect’s head, face and shoulder while the person was being handcuffed, according to Georgia P.O.S.T. records. Body camera footage show Kandakai’s knee close to the face of the suspect as he was being handcuffed.

According to Georgia P.O.S.T. records, Kandakai verbally and in his written report stated he had placed his knee on the back of the suspect because he felt the suspect was attempting to get up while a second officer was attempting to handcuff him. The second officer told investigators during an internal affairs interview that the suspect, once on the ground, did not offer any resistance.

The suspect was brought to his feet after being handcuffed and had visible lacerations to his chin and cheek. According to P.O.S.T. records, Kandakai did not activate his body camera during the incident, which was the second time in a year.

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Kandakai received a 24 month probation on his certification from Georgia P.O.S.T. following the incident in South Fulton but he was still hired after leaving South Fulton. He joined the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office in January 25, 2021 before he voluntarily resigned in March 2021. He was hired by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office as an investigator on March 17, 2021.

Kandakai began his law enforcement career with the Atlanta Police Department in May 2012 before he joined the Roswell Police Department in October 2015.