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Details emerge about former deputy

Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 5:19 PM
Last updated Monday, Aug 19, 2013 8:45 AM
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A supervisor at one of Brian McDuffie’s previous jobs advised the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office to keep him under close supervision if hired, according to personnel records obtained through the Georgia Open Records Act.

Last week, the sheriff’s office fired the 33-year-old deputy accused of using excessive force against a 15-year-old who was being detained after he was seen near a burglary investigation.

According to his termination letter, another officer was trying to get a second cuff on Kyvan James’ wrist when McDuffie stepped on his back, “stabilizing him on the ground,” and hit him in the head with a metal flashlight.

“The suspect then began screaming and asked for his ‘momma’ and you threatened him with further injury if he didn’t shut up,” the letter said.

According to the letter, the deputy outweighed James by 160 pounds.

Sheriff Richard Round­tree said the decision to use a foot to stabilize the suspect was defensible but not recommended. He said striking James with the flashlight was unjustifiable and would not be tolerated.

“You knew or should have known that this type of force could result in serious or lethal injury,” the letter stated. “You admitted that during training you have been instructed to avoid striking someone in the head with an impact weapon.”

According to McDuffie’s personnel file, he was previously suspended for actions at two agencies.

After his discharge from the U.S. Navy in 2001, he worked law enforcement jobs in Waynes­boro, Midville, Sar­dis and Richmond County. He worked as an officer in all jobs except at the Midville Po­lice Department, where he was police chief from October 2006 to August 2007.

All of the agencies, when questioned before his Rich­mond County hire in March 2008, said McDuffie would be eligible for rehire. However, former Waynes­boro Police Chief Karl Allen recommended “close supervision if he is hired.”

According to Allen, McDuffie was reprimanded several times during his nearly five years at the department for abusive language, abuse of sick leave and being late to work. In 2002, he was suspended for three days for “conduct unbecoming an officer.” Allen did not elaborate.

Nine months after he was hired in Augusta, McDuffie was suspended for two days and sent to the disciplinary review board for unsatisfactory performance and duty to care for county property.

According to a disciplinary report, a robbery suspect detained in McDuffie’s police cruiser got her right hand out of a handcuff, climbed into the front seat through the cage partition and drove away. Officers chased the suspect from Deans Bridge Road, to Ninth and Adams streets. During the chase, the woman struck the curb and a road sign.

“By leaving the partition open and leaving the vehicle running, Deputy McDuffie give the suspect avenue to escape,” the report read.

McDuffie continued to work for the sheriff’s office until 2011, when he left to focus on his tree removal business. He returned in June 2012.

McDuffie has 10 days to appeal after termination, after which the disciplinary board has 45 days to make a final decision.

Comments (79) Add comment
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thauch12
6739
Points
thauch12 08/18/13 - 07:04 pm
14
10
Good riddance

It looks like Mr. McDuffie was truly a rotten apple. Kudos to Roundtree for having the guts to get rid of this waste of oxygen. While the cops have every right and duty to apprehend and detain suspects, there is NOTHING that could justify hitting the kid on the head with a Maglite.

fedex227
11187
Points
fedex227 08/18/13 - 08:56 pm
13
6
Sad situation all around ...
Unpublished

but I agree, Deputy Fife needed to go.

gargoyle
17600
Points
gargoyle 08/18/13 - 09:03 pm
12
7
Still no hero's in this story

Still no hero's in this story and the handling of the situation was poor at best.

Little Lamb
46392
Points
Little Lamb 08/18/13 - 09:15 pm
10
5
Tree Surgeon

Well, I guess it's back to the tree removal business. At 250+ pounds, it a good bet he's not the climber.

Swatbad
448
Points
Swatbad 08/18/13 - 09:19 pm
9
10
Wow, what is that sound I hear here???

Are those crickets chirping or is it just all the oxygen being sucked outta here???

validPoint
982
Points
validPoint 08/18/13 - 10:14 pm
9
9
Trouble Aborted.

The hero is the one who moved swiftly to abort a catastrophy that was rapidly progressing. Based on this report, the ex-deputy was mis-placed from the beginning. It is far past time for folk to cut out "pseudo compassion', and call a "spade" a "spade"... because truth will surface at one time or another. There is a hero in this situation. However, there are no winners. The Sheriff's confidence was betrayed, and the betrayer ran until he could not hide...plain as day.

Hopefully, the ex-officer will find the job that is suited for him..

Thumbs up to Sheriff Roundtree .

Little Lamb
46392
Points
Little Lamb 08/18/13 - 10:46 pm
5
7
New Vocabulary

Hmmmm .....

We've got some new cliches to post here in future stories:

. . . moved swiftly to abort a catastrophy . . .

. . . mis-placed from the beginning . . .

. . . cut out "pseudo compassion' . . .

. . . truth will surface at one time or another . . .

mrenee2003
2946
Points
mrenee2003 08/18/13 - 10:51 pm
11
8
Swatbad

You are so right. Where are all those folks that said there was no way the kid was hit with a flashlight? Where are the ones that said the cop was a good guy and should be given a second chance? Where are the ones that said it was handled badly? That he shouldn't have been fired? Getting harder and harder to justify banging that kid's head with a flashlight and badmouthing his mother for being upset about it. Crickets.

countyman
20236
Points
countyman 08/18/13 - 11:02 pm
13
7
Facts

This is why I don't have strong opinions about things until all of the facts come out.

Roundtree handle this situation perfectly, and should be commended.

itsanotherday1
43717
Points
itsanotherday1 08/18/13 - 11:05 pm
9
6
Still no compassion for a kid

Still no compassion for a kid running from the po-po; but it is clear this guy was a bad seed and needed to go. From the latest details, no excuse at all to strike him with a flashlight, kid or adult.

Riverman1
84893
Points
Riverman1 08/18/13 - 11:26 pm
3
2
Did he ever work for the

Did he ever work for the Columbia County Sheriff's Office?

Austin Rhodes
2866
Points
Austin Rhodes 08/18/13 - 11:31 pm
12
21
Not a word of new information in this article.

The previous offenses were far less than what Roundtree himself did while on the force, AND McDuffie never used a county computer to manufacture a name to run a false endorsement thread in support of himself.

McDuffie did not beat a man with a metal flashlight...he put his foot on the back of the guy to stabilize him AFTER he pushed his head to the ground (while holding a plastic flashlight) with his clinched fist (pressure to be sure, but not a swinging punch)...

All of the information in this article (wrong AND right) was in the termination letter, which has been out for a week.

the compromiser
66
Points
the compromiser 08/19/13 - 12:03 am
14
12
Mr. Goodie Two Shoes, HUH

Someone please show this article to the Motor-Mouth of Radio. I'm speaking of Austin Rhoades. He said that Roundtree got rid of this officer just on a parent word. That McDuffie would not do such a thing to a Teenager. But from this article, McDuffie was really an Officer that don't follow protocol. He do things his way. Such a person like that need to be self-employed.

Darby
26032
Points
Darby 08/19/13 - 12:57 am
9
3
"Sad situation all around ...

but I agree, Deputy Fife needed to go."

.
Yeah, Barney, nip it in the bud. Nip it in the Bud.

waldero
29
Points
waldero 08/19/13 - 05:39 am
8
8
metal flashlight

a plastic flashlight of comparable size has as considerable force as a maglight. just because it is plastic does not lessen the weight (so much) and force of such a handheld object. the batteries are the same, making a plastic flashlight just as heavy.

Swatbad
448
Points
Swatbad 08/19/13 - 08:49 pm
9
7
Waldero....Obviously Austin did NOT take physics

Obviously Austin did NOT take physics in high school or college. Please tell me how you have the huevos to go from the obvious wrong of McDuffie to Sheriffs past? Whatever did has no baring on what Roundtree did...and vice versa. Thats like saying the KKK was kinda bad, but at least they didn't mass murder a lot of jewish people like Hitler. McDuffie was wrong....plain and simple....regardless of how you may feel.

freeradical
1093
Points
freeradical 08/19/13 - 06:00 am
9
14
Cracking Heads

He ought to be promoted .

Cracking heads of of the fleeing criminal element should be the rule not

the exception .

pantherluvcik
628
Points
pantherluvcik 08/19/13 - 06:40 am
10
9
Cracking heads of fleeing

Cracking heads of fleeing criminal element ha? A scared kid running to get to his mom does not make him a criminal element, it makes him a scared kid. He acted improperly by running, but i'm sure the average 15 year old would do the same thing unless they have had discussions with their parents to tell them otherwise. They just don't think like adults and they usually feel that their parents can fix anything. I know my children think that way, and i'm sure he felt if he got to his mom she could fix this situation.

southern2
6263
Points
southern2 08/19/13 - 07:06 am
11
11
Sure McDuffie has suffered a

Sure McDuffie has suffered a few growing pains in his career. Who hasn't? Thing is....he seems pretty good at catching bad guys. He should be reinstated with back pay and given a promotion!

itsanotherday1
43717
Points
itsanotherday1 08/19/13 - 07:14 am
13
6
pantherluvcik

As far as the police were concerned, he was a fleeing criminal. He was on the scene of a reported crime and ran when the police asked him to stop. Those are facts not in question.

And, so you think ANY 15 yo would do the same? I don't know what cultural/social background you have; but in mine it would be a rarity.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/19/13 - 07:19 am
12
3
Exactly, southern, surgeons
Unpublished

Exactly, southern, surgeons early in their careers routinely kill a good number of people due to inexperience until they get it right. "Growing pains" are just something that needs to be expected of any professional.

mrenee2003
2946
Points
mrenee2003 08/19/13 - 07:37 am
10
6
Not criminals

They are fleeing suspects, not criminals. The way some people on this forum throw the second amendment around, I would have thought someone would have brought up the constitution. We have a court system with judge, trial, and jury to determine if they are criminals. It's in the constitution, look it up sometime.

mrenee2003
2946
Points
mrenee2003 08/19/13 - 07:37 am
10
8
Southern2

No, he's not good at catching bad guys. Did you even read the article? He was reprimanded for letting someone slip out of her cuffs, climb through the partition cage, and drive a patrol car away. Yeah, real good at catching bad guys. Furthermore, it was my u/s it was another officer that chased James and caught him; not this bozo; he just slapped the kid around.

Grandpa Jones
1058
Points
Grandpa Jones 08/19/13 - 07:50 am
15
2
"Two wrongs don't make it right"

"The previous offenses were far less than what Roundtree himself did while on the force, AND McDuffie never used a county computer to manufacture a name to run a false endorsement thread in support of himself."

-------------------------------------------------
When callers are bringing up the past events trying to justify/excuse an issue, the first thing pops out of Austin Rhodes' mouth is that" two wrongs don't make it right." But notice with this incident how Austin Rhodes is doing the same thing .... by bringing up Roundtree's history in attempt to excuse McDuffie's behavior. But that's Austin for you!

my.voice
4860
Points
my.voice 08/19/13 - 07:48 am
15
3
It would appear a couple of

It would appear a couple of things are going on with this story:

1 - Sheriff Roundtree trimmed a dead branch off the tree.
2 - Austin cannot get beyond his disdain for Sheriff Roundtree to admit that.

EnoughAlready2
215
Points
EnoughAlready2 08/19/13 - 07:49 am
7
7
Palmetto and Southern2

Your comments were wrong on so many levels. I just choked on my coffee. A "promotion"?? Really?? His employment file is riddled with incompetent behavior......Southern, do you really think surgeons experience "growing pains"??? You are so mis-informed. Motor-mouth is so full of hot air. Mrenee, thx for your perspective. Completely accurate.

Marinerman1
4936
Points
Marinerman1 08/19/13 - 08:03 am
10
6
Still Not Convinced

Don't give a whole lot of weight to the "infractions" stated by Waynesboro chief. That was a few years ago. Might ought to send McDuffie to Forsyth for a little "refreshment", but probably still would not have fired him. If "Mom" should decide to file a lawsuit, Sheriff Roundtree just made it easier for her to get paid.Still not convinced.

southern2
6263
Points
southern2 08/19/13 - 08:07 am
2
10
OK...then why do they call it

"Southern, do you really think surgeons experience "growing pains"??? You are so mis-informed."

OK...then why do they call it "practicing" physician?

Little Lamb
46392
Points
Little Lamb 08/19/13 - 08:12 am
6
0
Uncommon

The sources and substance of this story are a bit unusual, but I salute Bianca Cain Johnson and The Augusta Chronicle for going out and getting the information. It is not common for employers to dish the dirt on people they have fired, but I guess that termination letters are public records. When Mr. McDuffie has his appeal hearing, it will be interesting to hear how he and the sheriff's employees spin the alleged errors and inconsistencies in the termination letter. Austin Rhodes has given McDuffie's explanations of what he considers errors, but will the sheriff produce officers to testify that the letter's contents are factual; or will the sheriff acknowledge the errors and say the are inconsequential?

Should be an entertaining hearing.

Riverman1
84893
Points
Riverman1 08/19/13 - 08:19 am
12
2
Rambling Cop

When someone has a vagabond existence in law enforcement there’s usually a reason. When former supervisors are hesitant about evaluating him, there’s a problem. When officers involved in the current incident tell a different version of what happened, there’s a problem. McDuffie needs to go back in the tree cutting business and take his media supporter with him.

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