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City settles with family of teen assaulted by deputy

Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 9:05 PM
Last updated Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 1:42 AM
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The physical and emotional effects of that night haven’t gone away, but the family of a teenager who was stepped on and hit in the head with a flashlight by a Richmond County Sheriff’s deputy in August received some closure this week.

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Kyvan James, 15, was involved in an altercation with Richmond County Sheriff's deputies on Aug. 3. Richmond County sheriff's Deputy Brian McDuffie was fired Aug. 12 for his involvement in the incident in which James was injured.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Kyvan James, 15, was involved in an altercation with Richmond County Sheriff's deputies on Aug. 3. Richmond County sheriff's Deputy Brian McDuffie was fired Aug. 12 for his involvement in the incident in which James was injured.

The city agreed Tuesday to pay the family of 15-year-old Kyvan James $55,000 to settle all claims against the city, the sheriff’s office and former deputy Bryan McDuffie, who was fired for his actions.

Kyvan’s mother Kenya James said she wasn’t looking for financial gain from the situation but instead wanted to hold public officials accountable so something similar never happens again. She said the money is being put away for Kyvan to use for college or when he goes to work.

“My motive was never to seek financial gain,” she said. “I just know that when you pay for a lesson, it’s a lesson you never forget...and I didn’t want this swept under the rug.”

McDuffie was fired after the investigation into James’ allegations determined he used excessive force in detaining the teen. Kyvan was walking home with a friend about 11 p.m. on Aug. 3 just as deputies responded to a burglary call at a nearby residence on Leawood Court.

The three officers began chasing the teens, who ran out of fear they would be accused of a crime, James said. Kyvan stopped and turned to the deputies and when they had one of his wrists in handcuffs, McDuffie stepped on his back and hit him in the temple with his metal flashlight.

James said Kyvan, who was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was age 7, still deals with headaches from the incident.

She said she hopes to see the sheriff’s office develop policies and procedures on how to properly detain people who have neural conditions. She said after hearing details from the investigation, she thinks her son could have been having the beginnings of an epileptic seizure, which is often induced by stress.

She would also like to see more outreach from officers with teens to break this perception of fear of the badge that Kyvan and other young people share. James said her son should not have run, but he did so out of fear.

Sheriff Richard Roundtree declined a request for comment and referred questions to the department’s attorney, Randolph Frails. He said this was “a good result” for all parties involved. The settlement diverted any potential lawsuit and helped all parties come to an understanding, he said.

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just an opinion
2478
Points
just an opinion 12/19/13 - 10:53 pm
19
4
Poor little Kyvan....

He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time (the back yard of a house right after it had been broken into). Oh yea I forgot, when the POlease said stop he ran. This was all just very circumstantial I guess . Why don't we follow Kyvan's career?

pgapeach2
1100
Points
pgapeach2 12/18/13 - 11:27 pm
19
2
Kenya James said she wasn't looking

Kenya James said she wasn't looking for financial gain. If that is the case, she should not accept the money.

specsta
6362
Points
specsta 12/19/13 - 04:19 am
8
22
Accountable To The Citizens

The settlement amount is not much compared to the trauma this teen endured.

It's tragic when innocent civilians are abused by police officers. And most times, the cops get away with it. Innocent citizens are physically abused and some are even killed by cops. This happens all over the country. Lawless cops do these things because they fear no retribution from law enforcement entities.

If more cases are brought forward by citizens who demand accountability from police, fewer incidents will happen and the bad seeds will be weeded out.

However, the entire criminal justice system needs a reboot, because it is damaged beyond belief. Folks are gunned down by police after asking for help. Folks are gunned down in their own driveways by police. Folks are gunned down while in handcuffs. Folks watch their pets gunned down by cops. Folks are Tazed to death by police. It is the Wild, Wild West all over this country.

And let's not even talk about corrupt judges, like the one who got cash kickbacks from private prisons for locking up children - the "Kids For Cash" scandal in Pennsylvania.

Citizens should realize that they are the bosses of the police. Their taxes fund police activities. Their votes keep or replace elected law enforcement officials. So it is fully within the power of the people to demand accountability from the police in every corner of the USA.

scoobynews
3826
Points
scoobynews 12/19/13 - 06:19 am
18
5
For a barely there bruise you

For a barely there bruise you can get $55,000!!!! Wow. Only in America! Since she wasn't looking for gain then why not donate that money to a local youth group. Maybe that could get her son off the streets and out of people's yards.

myfather15
54179
Points
myfather15 12/19/13 - 07:08 am
22
3
Specsta

You're right, at least on one account; the settlement amount isn't much compared to the ALLEGED trauma.

Which tells me one thing. Her lawyers probably told her to accept this deal, because it was the best she was going to get under these circumstances. Which means their case was REALLY weak, and the lawyer was afraid to put it in front of a jury!!! If they BOTH thought they could have got 6 or 7 figures, they would have. Especially when he is still having "headaches". The City settled just to shut them up and they took it because their case was VERY weak. They DID NOT want a jury to hear this case. They got 55k for her son running from the police, Congrats!!

robert2410
1628
Points
robert2410 12/19/13 - 07:07 am
17
5
When we reward thugs with
Unpublished

When we reward thugs with money and fire police officers for doing their jobs, we have a problem.

myfather15
54179
Points
myfather15 12/19/13 - 07:07 am
19
4
This starts at HOME!!

"She would also like to see more outreach from officers with teens to break this perception of fear of the badge that Kyvan and other young people share. James said her son should not have run, but he did so out of fear."

Mrs. James, THIS starts at home. It's obvious you haven't taught your children that we are the good guys!! My mom did and not only was I NOT afraid of cops, I wanted to BE ONE!!! I LOVED seeing men and women of uniform when I was growing up.

You're probably the type, if you're with your children in the grocery line and see a uniformed law enforcement officer, YOU probably told your kids "If you don't stop acting up, that man will get you." Getting them scared of police from the time their 3 years old!! But it's OUR fault, huh?

WE need to do a better job all the time, right? Certainly YOU don't need to do a better job raising your kids and being a parent!! We just need to do a better job handling your kids the way they are, NOT expect them to act civilized and decent.

We have officers and deputies in the schools every single day, interacting with the kids and youth, teaching them. But it simply DOES NOT WORK, when there is NOTHING at home!! No discipline (unless the child is getting on your nerves), no rules, no teaching respect, etc. It starts at HOME!!!

CobaltGeorge
155163
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/19/13 - 07:27 am
14
6
myfather

I read all your post and enjoy them immensely. You are right 99.9% of the time. Your comments are done without PC and always filled with Common Sense. I consider you one heck of a Police Officer and True American. Keep them coming.

Sure would like to meet you personally someday.

Pops
7711
Points
Pops 12/19/13 - 07:47 am
14
2
She saw dollar signs

from the beginning. I think all her "advice" for us about how the police should do their jobs is laughable.

Have fun with the money kid, that is if there's any left after your mom finishes "putting it up" for you.

southern2
6008
Points
southern2 12/19/13 - 09:03 am
14
3
From my bank account to

From my bank account to yours......redistribution at its finest, this is the reason I resent paying property taxes in Augusta! Not to mention the hardship that has been bestowed upon former deputy Bryan McDuffie for doing his job of protecting and serving.

Also, Kyvan's mom says "the money is being put away for Kyvan to use for college or when he goes to work." Why does someone need $55,000 when they go to work? Must be an expensive place to work.

seenitB4
85292
Points
seenitB4 12/19/13 - 09:10 am
10
3
Just wonder

If that money will make it til his college days...

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 12/19/13 - 09:21 am
11
4
Mrs. James, It isn't what the

Mrs. James, It isn't what the Sheriff's Dept. does that's going to change Kyvan's life...it is what Kyvan does? What if anything, does he have to do to "qualify" himself to receive this windfall?

What about encouraging and requiring Kyvan to reach out to troubled youth and share his own story about making wrong decisions? What about getting him into a recovery program...and giving him some responsibility?

One thing I've learned the hard way in life, is that...
"If nothing changes....NOTHING CHANGES."

nocnoc
41118
Points
nocnoc 12/19/13 - 09:45 am
9
3
I got run from some police

refuse to stop and resist arrest.

BTW: anyone else notice the "Teen" was Saggin for the Photo.

OBTW: Remember the Lawyers names who got 33+%

debbiep38
421
Points
debbiep38 12/19/13 - 10:33 am
0
0
It's the wild, wild West all over this country...
Unpublished

Especially in Detroit, Chicago and every other inner city in the USA, right Specsta?

Truth Matters
6596
Points
Truth Matters 12/19/13 - 10:48 am
5
4
Each time I have read or

Each time I have read or heard of the mother addressing this matter she acknowledged that her son SHOULD NOT have run and was WRONG to do so. It seems that many choose to dismiss that fact.

Having said that, there are consequences for all behavior and I hope the son realizes that. However, none of that negates the inappropriate behavior of the officer.

In some ways I would think having that settlement against this officer will give any other law enforcement agency great pause before hiring this man who certainly does not need to be in this line of work.

scoobynews
3826
Points
scoobynews 12/19/13 - 10:53 am
6
3
They are taught at a young age!

I recently saw a mother of a young boy who could not be more than a year old who was running around during a tree lighting. The mom told him he better stop running because the "police was going to get him". Very disappointed that people today use this as a way to stop their kids from doing things they don't want them to do.

dichotomy
32026
Points
dichotomy 12/19/13 - 11:19 am
9
2
Let's quit waltzing around

Let's quit waltzing around the other issue. This kid was probably involved in an attempted burglary. He certainly was a valid suspect and he ran. You run from the cops...you get bruised. I do not agree with intentionally striking a kid with a flashlight, but it isn't like the officer bashed his head in with it.

Write this kid's name down. We will see it again. And JUDGE, when we do, I want him fined $55,000.

itsanotherday1
41948
Points
itsanotherday1 12/19/13 - 11:22 am
5
1
Truth matters said

"However, none of that negates the inappropriate behavior of the officer."

Exactly. Had he acted like a professional, all of the rest would be moot.

just an opinion
2478
Points
just an opinion 12/19/13 - 11:57 am
6
3
Enlarge the photo

At least his momma made him pull his shirt down to cover his underwear for the picture! I wonder what Kyvan is doing right now?

thauch12
6428
Points
thauch12 12/19/13 - 11:52 am
3
2
Sound the trumpets

For once, I somewhat agree with myfather. A lot of problems begin in the home and are related to a greater cultural degradation of the family unit.

It's an interesting argument that parents teach their kids to be afraid of the cops, though. While I agree with that, it's not a one way street where it's only the parents' fault for that. For the vast majority of people, most of their interactions with cops are on roadways when they are pulled over for traffic offenses (or more often than not, to line government coffers). In this light, I think there is a certain degree of justifiable resentment that is passed on to kids and this is where community engagement plays a role.

Sweet son
10053
Points
Sweet son 12/19/13 - 12:21 pm
6
3
myfather is so correct. This chap learned what she called 'fear

of the badge' at home or in his community. I have never in my life feared a Police Officer or his badge. I was taught that they we always my friend and that is the same lesson I taught to my child and will continue to do so with my grandchildren.

CGee is right in his assessment of myfather's comments. They are always good and filled with common sense and opinion from an Officer's point of view.

Just My Opinion
5456
Points
Just My Opinion 12/19/13 - 01:15 pm
5
3
If I had a son who ran away

If I had a son who ran away from the police because he didn't want to get caught doing something he shouldn't be doing, well, he'd probably look just like Kyvan!

GiantsAllDay
9378
Points
GiantsAllDay 12/19/13 - 02:03 pm
5
3
Don't worry folks, the

Don't worry folks, the taxpayers will get some of their money back via 55,000 scratch off tickets.

nocnoc
41118
Points
nocnoc 12/19/13 - 06:26 pm
3
1
Since the $$$$ is for Kyvan

and the mom said as much for his college or Work.

ARC should put his part in a Trust account so it will be there for him when he reaches 18. The $36K +/- would even grow.

bright idea
782
Points
bright idea 12/19/13 - 07:40 pm
2
1
Settlement

This settlement is cheaper for the county but still an admission that the deputy hit him in the head with a flashlight while he was handcuffed. Cops have a terrible job but getting mad enough to do that when somebody runs means this deputy did not have the temperment for the job IMO. It sounds like James had a cheap lawyer eager for whatever cut he could get.

stuaby
3547
Points
stuaby 12/19/13 - 07:59 pm
4
0
What an easy score this was.

If I thought this would work twice, I'd monitor the police radio band and try to beat them to the scene of a heist of some sort, then run when they got there. I'd run directly under the street lights with my hands straight up in the air. I'd make sure to run kind of slow, to make sure they could make a clean tackle, without hurting themselves. I'd make sure I got a bruise somewhere when I hit the ground. I could use 55 grand. Heck, I'd even take 20 grand, or 10 or 5, no need to be greedy over a few minutes work.

Georgialina
7441
Points
Georgialina 12/19/13 - 10:18 pm
2
1
Kenya James said she wasn’t looking for financial gain

So give it back then! Or why get a lawyer to seek damages in the first place.

GiantsAllDay
9378
Points
GiantsAllDay 12/19/13 - 10:56 pm
3
0
Georgialina, I'm not even

Georgialina, I'm not even asking that she give it back. She should donate it to the golden harvest food bank. Her integrity would still be intact (if it existed in the first place) and her intended message will still be sent.

JRC2024
8513
Points
JRC2024 12/21/13 - 11:56 am
3
0
Spend some for a haircut for

Spend some for a haircut for her son and a new pair of pants that fit to the waist.

TrulyWorried
13304
Points
TrulyWorried 12/21/13 - 05:43 pm
1
0
Two days too long

it would be nice if the Augusta Chronicle could replace the picture of the dreadlock boy with his droopy pants - looked at him long enough. Not exactly the best advertisement for the youth of Augusta/Richmond Cty.

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