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Ex-deputy Brian McDuffie speaks out about his firing

Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 12:23 AM
Last updated 1:36 AM
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Brian McDuffie prided himself on being a deputy who opposed police brutality, but now his name appears on police brutality Web sites.

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Ex-Richmond County sheriff's Deputy Brian McDuffie has filed lawsuits against the sheriff's office and city commissioners. He says the firing has ruined his name.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Ex-Richmond County sheriff's Deputy Brian McDuffie has filed lawsuits against the sheriff's office and city commissioners. He says the firing has ruined his name.


The former Richmond Coun­ty deputy was fired in Au­gust after the sheriff’s office said he assaulted a 15-year-old during an arrest. He initially refused to discuss the case, but he contacted The Augusta Chronicle this month to complain about what he termed a “botched” investigation.

McDuffie, 33, said his firing was unjustified, racist and political in nature.

“They have ruined my law enforcement career and my name,” he said.

McDuffie, who said he has lawsuits against the sheriff’s office and city commissioners, sees irony in that some now consider him a bad police officer. He recalled intervening years ago when he found several deputies abusing a suspect.

“I walked in the house and they were kicking that guy to death,” he said. “I got in the deputies’ faces and said don’t ever do that in front of me again.”

The events that led to his firing started last summer, after Kenya James filed a complaint against him and two other deputies when her son was taken into custody Aug. 3.

McDuffie and deputies Chris­tian Gandy and Jason Payne were called to Lea­wood Court after a home­owner
said she believed some­one was inside her home.

According to an internal affairs investigation, the deputies were searching the home when they heard the homeowner yell, “They are running out the back.” The deputies then saw two black males fleeing. They gave chase, splitting up to catch the two teens.

Payne was able to catch one teen, but it took both Gan­dy and McDuffie to get the other, identified as Kyvan James.

According to the investigation, Gandy had Kyvan on the ground and was struggling to get him handcuffed when McDuffie came to assist. Police said McDuffie struck Kyvan on the side of his head with a metal flashlight and then stepped on the teen to keep him down.

Kyvan’s mother told police she arrived to find her asthmatic and epileptic son in the back of a police car with no medical treatment and a swollen eye. The teens were released after they were determined to not be involved in the burglary.

According to McDuffie’s Aug. 12 termination letter, Sheriff Richard Roundtree called the act of striking the teen unjustifiable and unacceptable. The officer appealed his firing but lost.

In December, the city settled with the teen’s family for $55,000.

McDuffie admitted using a straight-arm strike to regain control over Kyvan, whom he said appeared to be rolling over and reaching in the direction of Gandy’s gunbelt. He could not say that the polymer plastic – not metal – flashlight in his hand didn’t make contact with the teen, but he said it was not intentional if it did.

“I told them if it made contact there was no deliberate act,” McDuffie said. “It just happened to be in my hand. I said, ‘What am I supposed to do when we’re in a fight? Am I supposed to run and put all my stuff away?’ ”

A review of his internal investigation file has him wondering why more witnesses weren’t interviewed and
what happened to recordings from several interviews.

According to the file obtained by The Chronicle, the recorder “for unknown reasons” stopped working five minutes and 17 seconds into Mc­Duffie’s interview. During an interview with Payne, the recorder “malfunctioned” and the interview “could not be retrieved from the recorder.”

McDuffie said he is concerned that the investigators and sheriff ignored the threat the teen made against deputies. Sgt. Mark Chestang wrote in his statement that Kyvan’s mother said he had “some issues and has been in trouble before,” then said he believed she also said the teen
had trouble with authority.

However, one deputy and a neighbor told police they heard McDuffie threaten to break the teen’s neck if he didn’t stop moving.

Lt. Calvin Chew said Fri­day that there are always other options besides striking someone in the head, noting that the officer outweighed the teen by more than 100 pounds.

Roundtree said the decision to fire McDuffie was the right one.

“We firmly stand by our de­ci­sion,” he said in response to McDuffie’s claims. “Our decision was upheld by the review board, so we have no plans to reconsider.”

Since his firing, the Mc­Duf­fies have struggled financially as he looks for a job and works on his legal case. The loss of income has forced the family to drop their dental insurance and sell their pets and personal firearms. The family has been getting some help from the Augusta War­rior Project, family and the community.

“I’ve had deputies and people in the sheriff’s office pay my power bill,” he said.

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thauch12
7076
Points
thauch12 01/20/14 - 12:58 am
7
23
Pathetic

I get his whole argument that the kid was not cooperative. It simple doesn't justify whacking him in the head with a flashlight though. And spare me the BS about "reaching for the gunbelt."

Funny how McDuffie doesn't say anything about his prior history of problems (http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2013-08-18/details-emerge...). This guy was clearly a bad apple and I am glad to see him off the streets.

Also, shame on the AC for throwing in those last two paragraphs looking for sympathy for this clown. He's simply reaping what he's sown. And from the pictures, he seems to be eating just fine anyway...

scoopdedoop64
2510
Points
scoopdedoop64 01/20/14 - 01:08 am
20
5
What's pathetic is that an

What's pathetic is that an overall good police officer is out of a job and career he loved because of one mishap that result from a teen resisting an arrest. If there were a pattern of abuse it would be justifiable to fire him. Suspension or maybe demotion was in order along with more training. I'll guarantee there is more to the story on both sides.

Truth Matters
8097
Points
Truth Matters 01/20/14 - 01:46 am
10
4
@thauch12: Thanks for the

@thauch12:
Thanks for the link to remind us of the back story with this former officer. The kid was wrong and his mom acknowledged as much. When a former boss says an officer should be watched, that sends a red flag up in my opinion. I hope this officer will make lemonade out of this and find a new line of work. It is evident that he does not have the temperament nor judgement for law enforcement.

There have been plenty of times when dealing with students behaving badly and disrespectfully I may have wanted to yank them into the next week, but training and professionalism means you don't even when that student is wrong. Today I see some of those former students who are doctors, nurses, business owners, teachers, and serving in other professions. They thank me for the discipline and I thank God that I didn't overreact or do something like beat them with a flashlight.

myfather15
57307
Points
myfather15 01/20/14 - 05:38 am
11
5
Really? Do we have ALL the facts?

"reaching for the gunbelt."

Yes, it's always BS when you've never been in that position; to have to fight for your life while the offender is trying to take your gun from you!!

The fact is, I'm not defending this deputy nor throwing him under the bus as some of you are!! I KNOW EXACTLY what it's like to be out there on the streets, trying your best. I also know that some deputies take it too far. I have no idea about McDuffie's specific incident because I wasn't there and didn't witness it. So, I'm not going to defend him but I'm certainly not going to automatically ASSUME that something he said is BS, especially when I know it could be VERY TRUE!!

corgimom
38740
Points
corgimom 01/20/14 - 06:51 am
14
7
I know that if the police

I know that if the police would try to arrest me, and I resisted, that they would use force against me.

I know that if I fought a police officer, bad things would happen to me, and I would likely be hurt.

And it would be my fault.

What would anybody expect?

wildman
1225
Points
wildman 01/20/14 - 06:59 am
14
4
If

I will up my donation to AWP for helping this family. He did his job the best way he could. Appears to me that he used justifiable force to control the situation. If the subject had done as directed the issue would have been resolved with no harm, no foul.

seenitB4
98560
Points
seenitB4 01/20/14 - 06:59 am
11
2
I wonder about this report

If they were not the kids breaking in the home, why did the owner yell out that they were.....I didn't get the facts to that.

Some are NOT suited for this type work, I doubt that I would be.

nocnoc
49624
Points
nocnoc 01/20/14 - 07:17 am
22
6
I still side with the LEO

A burglary suspect, a suspect that was told to halt and ran, a suspect ordered to halt and was chased, a suspect that was caught and was still resisting arrest by other officers when this officer arrived.

A suspect from the AC's very on provided photos,shows he chose to dress like a THUG, look like a THUG and Personify the THUG image & culture for the camera.

A suspect with mom and a Reverend that was given a STAGE by a few Commissioners to setup a lawsuit against the Taxpayers.

A suspect with a Mom that tossed out every excuse from "Not my Baby" to Under weight, asthma, etc... that collected $50+K, but told us it wasn't about the $$$.

Do I think the Officer should have been Fired?

NO

Because I see politics and community activists interfering with the process and playing a major role in this from start to finish.

In short - He did not get a fair shake.

Maybe a LAWSUIT will bring ALL the FACTS out.
Because right now, if I were on the Jury and this former LEO was to suit ARC, he'd likely win.

RedQuinoa
2972
Points
RedQuinoa 01/20/14 - 07:56 am
9
14
Stirring the pot?

Pardon my cynicism, but it's curious how the AC timed publication of this story for this auspicious Monday holiday. Any particular reason why it wasn't held until tomorrow? After all, it isn't fresh news or anything like that.

truthsetmfree
94
Points
truthsetmfree 01/20/14 - 08:05 am
8
17
ruined his law enforcement career

Bet you McDuffie can't name the officers who was "kicking the guy to death" when he intervened. Because they are probably imaginary. He should move on and find a job where he could really use his imagination to its fullest potential. The Sheriff did him and the SO a favor by putting him on a different career path.

csralookout
336
Points
csralookout 01/20/14 - 08:21 am
9
2
Lawsuit against the sheriff's office & city commissioners

I hope the Chronicle keeps us updated on the outcome of the Lawsuit The Deputy has against the city. I don't think the city has an insurance liability policy, so if he wins that's more taxpayer money we have to dole out in addition to the $55,000 from the family settlement. Bottom line, this might cost all of us taxpayers a whole lot more money....crazy!!!!!!!! The Sheriff is going to hear about this come election time.

juantez
257
Points
juantez 01/20/14 - 08:21 am
0
0
Good
Unpublished

A bad cop is off of the streets.. THUG

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 01/20/14 - 09:22 am
16
5
Let's see a follow up on

Let's see a follow up on little innocent Kyvan in three years. Wonder what school he will go to in order to further his education with that 50k.

Bizkit
35756
Points
Bizkit 01/20/14 - 08:49 am
9
4
What's weird is to go from

What's weird is to go from hero and award winning policeman to being fired and a disgrace within a few months time.

Marinerman1
5499
Points
Marinerman1 01/20/14 - 09:00 am
17
4
A Couple of Things

1) Being an asthmatic, the LAST thing I would want to do is get excited, and RUN, when I am told to stop by an Officer. Since I do have asthma myself, I tend to take breathing a little more seriously than the next guy.
2) REALLY ?? The recorder stopped working during the interviews, and once it was realized, the interviews were not rescheduled ?? REALLY ??
I said before, and say again, like a lot of things in the town -- this smells of rotting fish. AND, right on, 'scoobynews' -- let's sit back and watch.

Riverman1
94247
Points
Riverman1 01/20/14 - 09:26 am
10
3
The Problem

Here's the problem with taking up for McDuffie, apparently the other officers present and the supervisor who arrived on the scene after the incident was over complained about McDuffie's behavior. The internal affairs investigation backed THEM up. So how can you go against the police in this matter? Did any officer support McDuffie?

Little Lamb
49247
Points
Little Lamb 01/20/14 - 10:04 am
10
3
Tapes

Former President Nixon got into a heap of trouble for erasing part of the tapes. Somebody in IA ought to look into this suspicious occurrence of a malfunctioning tape recorder. If you doctor the tapes, you can make a case against anyone.

Bizkit
35756
Points
Bizkit 01/20/14 - 10:42 am
9
4
I don't understand? If the

I don't understand? If the police tell you to stop running away from a scene most people would stop-especially if you have done nothing wrong. Was the suspect charged and has a judgment been made? Despite his medical problems the suspect had no problem breaking into the home and running away. Seems odd the suspect has all the sympathy. Perhaps the police should have just watched them run away enabling them to continue another day. I remember as a young child running from my mom and dad in different incidents-I got a beating for ignoring their authority and commands. Too bad you can't beat the hades out of these youths because perhaps it will keep them from ending up there. In high school well over the majority of males had the "hades" beat out us by our coaches for bad behavior-it worked on most but some still continued and ended up in prison. As draconian as it sounds-without the beatings I would have ended up in prison as well as all my friends-we were just bad. I find it strange how violent humans are in war, sports, interactions, yet we want to pretend we aren't and we are "civilized". We are just another "Rome" in so many ways. If someone resists arrest then I believe the police should be able to use any physical force-just don't kill em.

daphne3520
953
Points
daphne3520 01/20/14 - 10:44 am
0
0
The TROLLS are here!!!! NO TEXT
Unpublished

No TEXT!!! Yep, I said, NO TEXT!

braesdad2012
22
Points
braesdad2012 01/20/14 - 11:01 am
11
3
Evidence

To Riverman1 and all interested. The officers and supervisor did not complain on McDuffie's behavior. Their statements support his. The mother complained on scene about Deputy Payne was being rude and the supervisor address that. After the complaint was filed, the mother accused McDuffie of the one being rude. The supervisor's statement supports that

braesdad2012
22
Points
braesdad2012 01/20/14 - 11:09 am
7
3
update

The information that the public received from the SO was wrong. The AC had the original article wrong but it was no fault of theirs. McDuffie couldn't not speak to the media in the beginning. I think we should not compare what is being released now to the original story. Keep in mind the original story only had one side and it appears at the very least there are things not right about. Also, I know that he was a supervisor while in Waynesboro and if you look at what that chief stated (who is no longer there) the few incidents occurred in 2002 and he was promoted after that. He also was at 2 separate departments between his tenure at Waynesboro and coming to RCSO. the chief did not give a bad reference to those to jobs. I know that chief had a problem with officers going to RCSO he was fired from them. or atleast made to resign. Also during the time when McDuffie left, that chief had a lot of ppl leave his department bc of his lack of support to his officers. That same chief is also a fine one to talk. He had a community service worker steal a glock (service weapon that was not secured) out of the chief's office and McDuffie along with other officers is one of the ones that helped recovered it so the chief could sweep the incident under the rug so he didn't look stupid. Don't believe everything you hear. I have seen post from McDuffie since this incident inviting anyone who wants to look at the evidence to see it.

Graymare
3809
Points
Graymare 01/20/14 - 11:29 am
11
2
When I was a teenage girl,

When I was a teenage girl, over fifty years ago, friends and I went to the local high school football game. It was announced that at the end of the game no spectators were to run across the field. Well, a bunch of us did and an officer grabbed me by the arm and hit me hard across the behind with his night stick. When I got home and told my folks, they punished me for disobeying authority. Just sayin'....

Truth Matters
8097
Points
Truth Matters 01/20/14 - 11:31 am
9
2
I have never run from an

I have never run from an officer, never talked back and never questioned their authority. And I wish I could say that I have never encountered a rude, disrespectful police officer in spite of my appropriate behavior. But I have. One way that I maintain respect for the profession is by remembering the many LEOs whom I know personally and others that I believe do the right thing and work extra hard to make up for those who mar the image of the group.

Stating that there are some LEO's who cross the line is no disrespect to the profession. It's an honest observation. And assuming the kid was up to no good when there has been no evidence that he was trying to break in is not an honest observation. It is an assumption.

puppydog
228
Points
puppydog 01/20/14 - 11:34 am
10
4
I support the officer.

I am going to take the side of the officer over a juvenile who directly disobeyed authority and who was cited by the homeowner as one if the burglars breaking into her house and then running away. If I was at the scene of a crime, if I had no involvement, the LAST thing I'm going to do is run. Doesn't even make sense. If you resist arrest, you should expect & assume the risk that you will be injured in the process. The officer should sue the city for unjust firing and I hope he wins a big settlement To give this juvenile $50 k for breaking the law is ludicrous.

puppydog
228
Points
puppydog 01/20/14 - 11:39 am
6
6
Reverse discrimination

A case of reverse discrimination

Darby
29476
Points
Darby 01/20/14 - 12:24 pm
11
3
"And from the pictures, he seems to be eating

just fine anyway..."

.
Nice (cheap) shot.

Plenty of obese homeless out there surviving on Ramen noodles.

Common.sense
465
Points
Common.sense 01/20/14 - 12:30 pm
6
2
There is no such thing as

There is no such thing as reverse discrimination. Discrimination that you aren't used to seeing isn't reversed, its still discrimination.

Darby
29476
Points
Darby 01/20/14 - 12:54 pm
13
3
"When I got home and told my folks,

they punished me for disobeying authority."

.
As they should have... And when this kid got home, he APPARENTLY sits down with his mommy and plots to LEGALLY extort money from Richmond County taxpayers.

Given what we know, I'm betting dollars to doughnuts that not one red cent of that $55,000 will EVER find it's way into a college fund for junior.

There will PROBABLY be, however, IMHO, some lavish spending sprees.

His mom should have looked after his alleged injuries and then taken him to the woodshed. That's what I would have done had it been my son.

Truth Matters
8097
Points
Truth Matters 01/20/14 - 01:34 pm
4
13
I expect more clear, coherent

I expect more clear, coherent thinking and measured behavior from a grown man any day. That is why minors are not allowed by law until they reach a certain age, to drive, drink, smoke, vote, serve in the military, and join the police force.

Stupid behavior by a kid never justifies abusive behavior by an adult.

GnipGnop
12744
Points
GnipGnop 01/20/14 - 01:54 pm
10
4
A skinny asthmatic epileptic 14 year old

can kill you just as dead as a grown man. I'm not buying the "malfunctioning tape recorder story" he was used as a scapegoat and I can almost bet dollars to donut holes other officers where told to shut up about this or be next. You run from the police you deserve whatever happens to you. I don't care how scared or innocent you are. Parents that support their kids that run from the police are as big of a problem to society as the ones that run to the school to complain that the teacher is picking on their kid because their wonderful kid would never do any harm...it's BS and yet they win lawsuits everyday.

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