Crime & Courts

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Roundtree defends decision to fire officer

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 8:48 PM
Last updated 9:03 PM
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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.

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nocnoc
42450
Points
nocnoc 08/13/13 - 09:22 pm
12
9
Up front, despite digging

Up front, despite digging into him on occasion, I have a lot of respect for the RCSO Sheriff.

Yes, there is a new guy in town and that jury is still out.

So far his track record has been Average, as far as I am
concerned.

But when I hear things like :
"McDuffie is white and Kyvan is black, but Roundtree said it does not appear the beating was racially motivated."

I still have to ask was the deputies termination to accommodate racial/legal demands and/or to appease any racial tensions and demands being made in the background by certain commissioners or community leaders? OR WAS IT A clear violation of Policy?

Example:
The deputy goes, or _______ files a multimillion dollar Lawsuit.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/13/13 - 09:31 pm
9
10
Did you miss the second
Unpublished

Did you miss the second paragraph of the article, nocnoc??

GiantsAllDay
9578
Points
GiantsAllDay 08/13/13 - 09:50 pm
10
8
So striking a defenseless

So striking a defenseless teenager with a flashlight will get you fired but it won't get you charged with a crime?

just an opinion
2623
Points
just an opinion 08/13/13 - 09:55 pm
15
12
Deputy's - you may want to reconsider ...

chasing a suspect next time. If you catch him and he gets bruised or scratched you may get fired. Just run slow.

southern2
6118
Points
southern2 08/13/13 - 11:13 pm
21
12
Sad that every white person

Sad that every white person in Richmond County has to be subjected to the racial tirade presented by Kyvan's mom in the commission chambers and then insulted by the racist overtones by some of the commissioners.

I resent the fact that a good officer was fired for doing his job. Resisting an officer has consequences and Kyvan made the decision to learn it the hard way. Hopefully, next time he won't put our police officers in a challenging situation.

Little Lamb
45858
Points
Little Lamb 08/13/13 - 09:58 pm
22
8
Progressive Discipline

Did McDuffie have a personnel file with a recent reprimand or two in his file for violating procedures or acting against his training? If so, fire him for this incident. If not, it is wrong to fire him. Perhaps he should be disciplined, but firing for the first misstep is not the way the successful organization works.

You need to work your way up the disciplinary chain, in order to give the employee a chance to change his approach to work.

specsta
6505
Points
specsta 08/13/13 - 11:10 pm
9
18
@ Little Lamb

Little Lamb wrote - "You need to work your way up the disciplinary chain, in order to give the employee a chance to change his approach to work."

That would probably work out fine at the McDonald's or the local car wash - but when you are talking about the deliberate assault of a child by a police officer, resulting in sustained injuries, your observation is null and void.

What if Kyvan had died? Anytime someone is hit in the face with a metal object there is the possibility of a concussion, subdural hematoma, deep lacerations that nick blood vessels, etc.

So, your approach is to slap the cop on the wrist and say "poor baby, do better next time"? Next time might result in the death of an innocent civilian.

Cops have no room for mistakes. They better get it right the first time, because their mistakes can lead to permanent injury and death. That is why they go though extensive training so "mistakes" don't happen. That"s the nature of their job.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 08/13/13 - 11:39 pm
10
4
I'm very reluctant to comment

I'm very reluctant to comment on this; simply because I see the disgusting comments by the typical LP crowd on here. They make me SICK!!

But, I must give Sheriff Roundtree the benefit of the doubt. If this Deputy admitted to the Sheriff that he hit this TEEN (not a child) with a flashlight, he should be punished!!

Now, there would still be questions that need to be answered. Was the teen handcuffed when hit? Automatic termination and prosecution, in my opinion!!

It's says McDuffie was assisting the other deputies; did they catch the teen before McDuffie arrived, and he just walked up and hit the teen as revenge for running? (Termination justified) Did they already have him under control when this happened? Was the teen actively fighting or resisting when he was struck?

If the teen was NOT under control and was actively fighting with the deputies when he was hit; this is something to consider. Were ALL THREE deputies present and trying to gain control over the teen? If all three WERE there, then the deputy shouldn't have hit him, at least not with a flashlight!!

You have to understand; when three deputies are chasing a suspect, that does NOT mean all three catch the suspect at the same time. One deputy could be much faster than the others, then he is there fighting by himself, until the slow pokes arrive!! So, was McDuffie the first, second or third to arrive? If he was first, then was the teen actively fighting him before the other deputies arrived?

Did McDuffie attempt to hit the teen with his fist, and the flashlight was in his hand, or did he intentionally hit him with the flashlight? Whether you like it or not, this is a good question. Courts have ruled that Deputies who have a flashlight in their hands for illumination, are NOT required to drop the flashlight, when involved in a physical altercation. Why? Because that gives the possibility of the suspect picking up the flashlight and using it offensively against the deputy; which can cause serious bodily harm, which would constitute the deputy using deadly force against him. How insane do you think people would go, if the suspect picked up the DEPUTIES flashlight to use against him, and the deputy shot him dead? WOW, folks would blow a gasket!!

There are simply to many unanswered questions on this specific case. But I'm going to give Sheriff Roundtree the benefit and assume his office did a good investigation, which revealed excessive force was used!! If so, then termination is the RIGHT CHOICE!! We don't need hot heads out here doing this job!!

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 08/13/13 - 11:43 pm
16
4
specsta

"So, your approach is to slap the cop on the wrist and say "poor baby, do better next time"?"

From previous posts of yours, you appear to have this philosophy with criminals in court, why is it different with cops?

With YOUR OWN COMMENTS in past; why wouldn't you advocate getting this deputy counseling and sensitivity training? You would for the criminal element of society!!

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 08/13/13 - 11:46 pm
10
4
Boy, these LP's are sure

Boy, these LP's are sure reluctant to EVER advocate someone being charge with a crime; except cops!! With cops, they find it easy to advocate incarceration!! They would probably like to give McDuffie 20 years for this incident!!

GiantsAllDay
9578
Points
GiantsAllDay 08/14/13 - 12:21 am
7
10
He should be given the same

He should be given the same punishment as any private citizen who strikes another with a flashlight and causes bodily harm. No more, no less. A badge shouldn't be a free pass to break the law.

Truth Matters
6745
Points
Truth Matters 08/14/13 - 01:39 am
8
15
"Make me sick"

That comment coming from someone who has indicated that he is in law enforcement is a concern to me. There has been no effort to make hay over this unfortunate incident. The whole point is that a greater degree of control is expected of those who carry weapons and wear a badge.
The attitude of being "sick" of others is one that is easily carried over into the work place. There is a difference in not liking the comments one makes and being "sick" of certain people.

I give the mother credit for being quite measured in her comments. She said she only wanted to ensure that appropriate training is given so this kind of thing does not happen again. She didn't rant, call names (more than can be said for many on this site) or accuse anyone of being racist. At least I didn't read that.

Truth Matters
6745
Points
Truth Matters 08/14/13 - 01:58 am
7
10
"20 years"

@ They would like to give McDuffie 20 years.."
That punishment would not fit the crime. If the kid had died, that punishment would not have fit the crime, either.

This is not a liberal or conservative issue as some want to make it. It is about an officer who went too far. I give the sheriff, whom I didn't vote for initially, credit for recognizing this. Unfortunately, he will be under the microscope anytime he has to discipline an officer under these circumstances. I do not remember there being questions if Sheriff Strength fired people because of any outside pressure. And many minorities felt that they could approach him.

The public must partner with LEA to help ensure that they are able to do their job unrestricted. The action of this Cop undermines that relationship and makes it harder for other Cops to do their job.

paladin5
299
Points
paladin5 08/14/13 - 03:46 am
10
1
SERIOUS ISSUE......

Without knowing all the facts and statements in the investigative report, most of the comments above are Speculation and ASSUMptions with multiple perceptions of the incident....When a LEO is accused of excessive force, the matter becomes a serious issue for any LE Agency. The Sheriff stated that he had no problem with his officers Chasing or Detaining the subject. Nothing was ever said about arrest or charges being made. LEOs have a lot of tools available to use and training (supposedly) on when to use them. If a LEO is certified with a baton, he still cannot target the head, sternum, or groin unless a life or death situation exists. Three officers on scene brings up many questions about the incident. 12 incidents investigated and 2 substantiated.

The Decision to terminate is a difficult one for any head of an agency. If the LEO is an experienced LEO, the Decision becomes extremely difficult since the the Badge and Gun does bring a higher standard of self-discipline and control into incident.

I would want to know more specifics before I draw any conclusions. Most LEOs know when another LEO has "gone too far" in his actions/responses. Most of us know before the next morning whether the situation is good or bad......The Decision is however not ours to make. I would hope that the Decision was just and made on the facts of the investigation conducted by the agencies IA officers.

KSL
128940
Points
KSL 08/14/13 - 05:39 am
5
4
The headline

Well, duh!

leebraxjr
270
Points
leebraxjr 08/14/13 - 06:17 am
4
2
Kyvan and his friend

I will not say anything else concerning the officer, because what's done is done.

My question is if there were two kids what happened to the other one? Was Kyvan questioned about his friend?

Why didn't the friend or his mother come out to also defend Kyvon by saying the two teens were simply passerby's and wanted to know what was going on?

InChristLove
22473
Points
InChristLove 08/14/13 - 06:31 am
7
5
"Anytime someone is hit in

"Anytime someone is hit in the face with a metal object there is the possibility of a concussion, subdural hematoma, deep lacerations that nick blood vessels, etc."

And what I have previously pointed out....this young man had a bruise under one eye that looked like he got popped with an elbow. Although spescta state there is a "possibility" it seems if this officer wacked this young man in the face/head several times, there would be the appearance of some cuts or lacerations. There is no doubt that the officer hit the teen because he admitted to it but I'm wondering just how hard did he strike the teen? Was it a bop to the head to settle him down and the black eye was a result of the tussle with the other two officers? Was it a full fledge blow to the head with the intent to do major harm then why were no cuts to the head photographed (only one black eye but the article states he suffered bruising and swelling to both eyes).

I don't have a problem with this officer being disciplined but fired just seems a little harsh. Retraining and some desk duty seems needed but lost of career seems a little harsh. We still haven't heard anything about what Kyvan's punishment should be for disobeying an officer and running from the police. Maybe they need to let Kyvan ride along with an officer for a week just so he can see what these men deal with everyday. Hopefully he'd gain more respect for them and understand they are out there to serve and protect him and his family.

southern2
6118
Points
southern2 08/14/13 - 07:08 am
8
7
Officer McDuffie should have

Officer McDuffie should have been rewarded for his ability to catch bad guys and not condemned. To bad Kyvan choose to present himself as a suspect by fleeing the crime area. Shows me the kind of officer we need more of, not less.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 08/14/13 - 07:09 am
0
0
Reminds me of Freddie Sanders early days as a LEO. Remember?
Unpublished

Reminds me of Freddie Sanders early days as a LEO. Remember?

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 08/14/13 - 07:10 am
0
0
Excessive Force. Objective or subjective? Why not both?
Unpublished

Excessive Force. Objective or subjective?

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/14/13 - 07:12 am
8
13
Apparently, southern2, the
Unpublished

Apparently, southern2, the bad guy in this incident has been caught and fired.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 08/14/13 - 07:19 am
0
0
Attica, Attica, Attica, Attica..................................
Unpublished

Attica, Attica, Attica, Attica......................................

nocnoc
42450
Points
nocnoc 08/14/13 - 07:37 am
10
3
palmetto1008 - I have wanted to say something for a long time

Others maybe more correct than myself
Other maybe less correct than myself?

But we get to comment what we feel is correct.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 08/14/13 - 07:42 am
0
0
If everything in
Unpublished

this situation isn't racially motivated, there isn't a cow in Texas, in my humble opinion.

navycubfan
194
Points
navycubfan 08/14/13 - 07:42 am
6
1
Paladin and MyFather

both make very poignant comments. There is so much we don't know about the investigation and allegations. We can make our opinions based on the lack of details in the AC articles and appear to be racist to those who think that the mom's racist comments were justified or everyone on both sides of the story can step back and try to see the other sides of the story without name calling or stereotyping.

southern2
6118
Points
southern2 08/14/13 - 07:45 am
8
4
palmetto.... Why even have

palmetto....

Why even have police officers if you are not going to allow them to do what you send them to harms way to do? What other reason was this officer dispatched to the crime scene? Was it just to waste gasoline or was it to protect and serve? Catch first...sort later.

navycubfan
194
Points
navycubfan 08/14/13 - 07:55 am
5
1
Southern2

I don't think palmetto is saying don't send the cops...I agree with both of you.. the Police need to be free to chase and detain.....Like I said in my previous post.. there are too many unknown details....the mom's comments are made out of emotion and protection of her teenage son...not a child by any means... if you call any 15 y/o, a child to their face you will be met with a sneer. The only people who really know what happened are the three deputies and the teen. Hopefully the investigation revealed what happened and this dismissal was not made because of political/racial pressure.

nocnoc
42450
Points
nocnoc 08/14/13 - 07:59 am
3
2
A suggested simple solution.

Instead of getting the RCSO info filtered 2nd/3rd handed.

Here is where RCSO could to go High Technical at a low cost and serve the public info requests directly. RCSO could purchase a less than $500 Fujitsu Scansnap iX500 from number of local businesses.

Scan ANY such Public/Media High profile investigation documents into a PDF file and then post the report online for reading or downloading.

The Scanning rate is 20-25 double-sided pages per minute and right into a PDF file.

It also does OCR and Photo's.

I have one, and have scanned literately 1000's of photos and older documents and certificates through it with good to great results. Then burned the files to CD or DVD's

http://www.fujitsu.com/us/services/computing/peripherals/scanners/scansn...

nocnoc
42450
Points
nocnoc 08/14/13 - 08:05 am
4
3
A request

Did anyone save a copy of the Facebook/youtube Video?

The one that the poor little 15 y/o under weight asthmatic child,
had posted with him running off at the mouth and not his legs this time?

The one that was removed the next day after it was discovered by many and mentioned here in earlier comments?

It might add some additional light to the subject,
if only to show character.

nocnoc
42450
Points
nocnoc 08/14/13 - 08:13 am
4
3
I will also say this

If Sheriff Roundtree was wrong and/or was as bad as we sometimes make him out to be, ARC would have a epidemic Blue Flu problem.

We don't see any RCSO upper management changes or shifting in
duties so maybe we just need to see more info?

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