Sheriff Richard Roundtree said he was supportive of ex-Deputy Brian McDuffie’s decisions while detaining a 15-year-old until the one where the deputy struck the teen in the head.
“It goes against every bit of training we’ve ever been taught,” Roundtree said Tuesday.
The sheriff fired McDuffie Monday after an investigation into allegations of excessive force while detaining Kyvan James on Leawood Court in Hephzibah on Aug. 3.
According to his mother, Kenya James, Kyvan was walking to his home with a friend when they saw blue lights outside a Leawood Court residence. Out of curiosity, the teens decided to take a shortcut near the home where police were investigating a possible burglary.
The officers, who noticed the teens, asked them to stop but they ran. James said her son made a foolish decision to run, but he did so out of fear.
Police said McDuffie assisted two other deputies in Kyvan’s arrest for obstruction of a law enforcement officer. It was then, Roundtree said, that McDuffie hit Kyvan with a flashlight.
“I have no problem with deputies giving chase or detaining the suspect,” Roundtree said. His problem, he said, came when the deputy admitted he had used his flashlight as a weapon.
Kyvan was treated at Medical College of Georgia for injuries that included bruising and swelling to both eyes.
“People say they don’t think the severity of the injuries warranted termination,” he said. “But should we have to wait until it’s worse?”
James aired her concerns to the Augusta Commission on Monday.
There have been 12 investigations into excessive force by deputies this year. Two, including McDuffie, have been substantiated and both deputies were fired, Roundtree said.
McDuffie worked as a deputy at the sheriff’s office from 2008 to 2011 before being rehired in June 2012.
McDuffie is white and Kyvan is black, but Roundtree said it does not appear the beating was racially motivated.