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Man drowns after running from deputy

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A 19-year-old Augusta man drowned Sunday after he ran from a Richmond Coun­ty deputy, authorities said.

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The dive team was called after Calvin Cunningham didn't surface after jumping into the Augusta Canal while running from sheriff's Deputy Jimmy Lamar, his cousin. Cunningham was reported missing last week.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
The dive team was called after Calvin Cunningham didn't surface after jumping into the Augusta Canal while running from sheriff's Deputy Jimmy Lamar, his cousin. Cunningham was reported missing last week.

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Calvin Cunningham, of Yorkshire Drive, jumped into the Augusta Canal about 4:45 p.m. while being pursued by Deputy Jimmy Lamar, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

Lamar, who had been working a special assignment at the canal at Milledge Road, recognized his cousin, Cunningham, as having been reported missing and tried to convince him to call home, according to an incident report. Cunningham ran and Lamar chased him.

Once in the canal, Cun­ning­ham was overcome by the current. Two bystanders attempted to help rescue him but were unsuccessful.

Richmond County Water Rescue dive team members recovered the body shortly after 7 p.m., and Cunningham was declared dead at 7:22 p.m., Deputy Coroner Johnny McDonald said.

An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday at the Georgia Bu­r­eau of Investigation Crime Lab in Atlanta.

Cunningham’s mother had reported him missing Wednesday, but she saw him the next day and his status was updated, the release said. Officials said they could not speculate on why he ran from Lamar.

McDonald said it’s normal for deputies to receive special assignments to patrol the canal during warmer months.

The sheriff’s office “likes to have someone posted over there because people like to swim in the canal,” he said.

Comments (21) Add comment
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specsta
6709
Points
specsta 05/26/13 - 08:04 pm
5
18
Pursuit?

Is there something I'm missing here?

Cunningham was a 19-year-old adult, reported missing, who's status was later updated to not missing. An officer recognized him and tried to talk to him, but the teen ran. What exactly was the reason for the pursuit by the officer? Last time I checked, it wasn't a crime for a grown man to be "missing". It was obvious that Cunningham wanted to be left alone. Once again, why the pursuit?

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 05/26/13 - 08:12 pm
12
4
Once again, why run?

Once again, why run?

speedy6492
30
Points
speedy6492 05/26/13 - 08:15 pm
12
3
My tough exactly! If he

My tough exactly! If he didn't do anything wrong why did he not stop to talk to the officer.

SB3
3934
Points
SB3 05/26/13 - 08:19 pm
13
3
Catch-22

If the reason this young man went missing in the first place was a first psychotic break and he ended up hurting himself or someone else, people would complain the officer didn't chase him down. Don't blame the officer for just trying to ask questions and seeing if the man needed help. Nobody could anticipate him jumping into the canal.

myfather15
55824
Points
myfather15 05/26/13 - 08:30 pm
14
6
Yes; thats what rational people ask is why run from LE officers

Obviously, it's ALWAYS the fault of the LE officers to irrational people. There are MANY reasons to speak with a persons whose been reported missing. If I said "Hey man, can I talk to you for a minute" and they flee; YES I have reasonable suspicion to pursue the person until it's determined WHY they were running. NORMAL law abiding citizens don't run from the police. THIS is why courts OVER and OVER have ruled that it IS reasonable for an officer to pursue a person who flees from their presence. The courts have ruled that any REASONABLE person would suspect criminal conduct; when persons flee upon LE presence.

Irrational people will always ask "Why did the officer pursue" not "Why did the person run?" The key word in the courts ruling is REASONABLE and some folks simply aren't reasonable. Yes, this is tragic and sad; but NO this isn't what ANY LE officers wants to happen. BUT, unless this Deputy THREW this person into the river; I can NOT see how any rational person could put blame this on anyone besides the person who JUMPED into the river. But, I'm sure the "Being thrown" allegations will come out, without basis.

GiantsAllDay
10237
Points
GiantsAllDay 05/26/13 - 08:57 pm
11
8
I am by no means any expert,

I am by no means any expert, but this would be my advice:
If an officer illegally detains you, do NOT resist him.
If an officer illegally arrests you, do NOT resist him.
If an officer illegally searches you, do NOT resist him.
Let the courts work it out later.
And oh ya, NEVER run.

itsanotherday1
46710
Points
itsanotherday1 05/26/13 - 09:26 pm
13
3
GAD

That is exactly the advice lawyers offer time and again. You do not have the right to resist an illegal arrest. You DO have the right to refuse to answer any questions beyond name, birthdate, etc. for identification purposes. Legally, if innocent of any wrongdoing, you do not have to stop when an officer hails you, but you can bet you are in for some tough treatment if you don't.

OtherSideOfTheMoon
172
Points
OtherSideOfTheMoon 05/26/13 - 09:37 pm
17
1
The deputy and the deceased

The deputy and the deceased were cousins as stated in the article above. My guess is that the deceased was not "running from the law" but from his family. My prayers are with the family. The deputy must feel terrible having witnessed this tragedy unfold.

kaylakaren
26
Points
kaylakaren 05/26/13 - 09:56 pm
16
1
Pursuit?

The article states that the 19 year old was a relative of the officer therefore the officer knew that his parents were looking for him and was trying to persuade him to return home.

This incident has nothing to do with the officer doing anything illegal of Calvin Cunningham doing anything illegal. Yes he was 19 years old however, for some of us these are still our babies, our children and they still live under our roofs, so yes when they leave the house and not return some of us care enough to search for them and appreciate law enforcement for assisting us in these endeavors.

My condolences to the Cunningham family in such a time as this.

Gage Creed
18771
Points
Gage Creed 05/26/13 - 10:02 pm
4
3
Subhed here and here and here and hey

Subhed here and here and here and hey.... The holiday weekend is upon us!

whyme
2070
Points
whyme 05/26/13 - 10:03 pm
9
4
speculation

Yes, you all are indeed "missing something". You choose to read these articles online and then analyze, judge, and otherwise post your opinion based on limited information, just because you can. Unless you were there-and based on your comments you were not-your comments should be limited to condolences, general remarks about awaiting further information, etc.

Truth Matters
7783
Points
Truth Matters 05/26/13 - 10:05 pm
14
0
Why?

We may never know, but I imagine if I were to recognize a relative that has been reported missing I would reach out to him/her just as it appears this officer was doing. It appears this was so much a chase as it was an approach to reach out. It's an unfortunate tragedy but I give the officer all the benefit.

Truth Matters
7783
Points
Truth Matters 05/26/13 - 10:08 pm
2
0
Oops

"this was not so much a chase...."
Sorry for the error.

specsta
6709
Points
specsta 05/26/13 - 10:21 pm
4
16
Another Issue

GiantsAllDay wrote:
"If an officer illegally detains you, do NOT resist him.
If an officer illegally arrests you, do NOT resist him.
If an officer illegally searches you, do NOT resist him.
Let the courts work it out later."

And if an officer illegally attempts to beat a citizen's brains out with a nightstick, they should just offer their heads for easy access, yes? Then let the coroner sort it out? If a citizen is placed in a choke hold and can't breathe, they should just kiss their behind goodbye and not make an attempt to live?

There are thousands of files in police internal investigations in every city in this country that document police brutality.

A quick Google search on "police brutality" yields over 24 million results. Sometimes the courts can't "work it out later" because someone is dead.

What is a citizen to do when confronted with a renegade cop? That's the question that can decide life or death...

(disclaimer) - I am not referring to this specific case but to police-citizen interaction in general.

GiantsAllDay
10237
Points
GiantsAllDay 05/26/13 - 11:38 pm
12
0
Apples and oranges. My

Apples and oranges. My examples did not include violence or bodily harm.

rational thought trumps emotion
2625
Points
rational thought trumps emotion 05/27/13 - 12:10 am
13
3
Specsta

Deputy has been informed to help locate this person. Deputy see’s the person, and the person takes off running. He follows and the person jumps into the water, causing him to drown of his own accord. Your response?…deputy shouldn’t have done his job and followed him.

Or…Deputy calls out to him and he takes of running, deputy fails to follow him and/or do everything in his power to make sure the guy is ok and all is well. Person still ends up jumping into the water or something else happens to him and someone with your logic would respond….The lazy cop should have followed him and found out what was wrong. If cops weren’t so lazy, this guy would be alive.

Your pathetic diatribe on police brutality, which has declined greatly in the past decade does show that less than 1% of officers have ever even been accused of such activity much less actually be guilty of it. And, when they are, it is the 99% of the great cops out there that do something about it.

With people like you and your many previous comments, it doesn’t really matter how great the officer is or how he handled himself/herself, they are always to blame vs. the person running or the criminal.

BTW, Why peruse? Because by Georgia Code, alarm is warranted by the fact that the person takes flight upon the appearance of a law enforcement officer.

butterflygina
159
Points
butterflygina 05/27/13 - 06:16 am
3
0
Shame on you Travis for this

Shame on you Travis for this headline. I agree that this young man was running from his family. So sad.

CobaltGeorge
169956
Points
CobaltGeorge 05/27/13 - 06:42 am
5
3
All LEO's

ignore what the law hating public thinks or says, chase to the end anyone that runs from you and always be ready to eliminate anyone of them that are armed.

curly123053
5122
Points
curly123053 05/27/13 - 06:57 am
4
0
Sad!

I think this individual was more interested about getting away from a family member than he was about running from a cop. He obviously had some type of family issue and wanted to be left alone. My prayers are with the entire family.

Riverman1
90177
Points
Riverman1 05/27/13 - 07:31 am
6
0
Just a tragic occurrence and

Just a tragic occurrence and a tragic young man. No one is responsible.

roscoe74
43
Points
roscoe74 05/27/13 - 08:00 am
6
0
Parent of Mentally Ill Children

I have two mentally unstable children. My first thought reading this article was that the victim was not thinking clearly. My thoughts and prayers for the family and for the officer/cousin who witnessed Cunningham's death.

On the point regarding submitting to police, it is my duty as a parent of ill children to teach them to obey officers. RESPECT to all our civil servants that are sworn to protect and uphold the law.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 05/27/13 - 08:46 am
1
0
Hey folks!
Unpublished

A 19 year old young man is dead. Forget semantics. God bless Mr. Cunningham's soul.

scoopdedoop64
2482
Points
scoopdedoop64 05/27/13 - 10:19 am
7
0
Prayers for the family

I know the grandmother of this young man and my prayers go out to her and her family. They are devastated by this loss of life. Investigations will determine all the facts and truth usually comes out. Till that time, anything else is just cheap talk.

@specsta: I don't know you or your circumstances or what type of people you hang out with, but that kind of thinking that the police is out to get you and to insinuate they use police brutality on people they don't like is just plain false and dangerous. Usually people who talk like that about police are involved in illegal activity to justify their hatred of anyone who keeps them from committing their crimes (not accusing you but just stating a fact). Our police put their lives on the line to keep us safe. If a policeman steps outside of the law then they are punished just like everyone else. I support our policemen and am thankful for the service they provide everyday.

Old School Values
126
Points
Old School Values 05/28/13 - 04:32 pm
1
1
Why was he running? What does

Why was he running?
What does it matter, He wasn't under arrest or legally being detained. As to resisting a illegal arrest, the Courts have ruled on that one already:
“An arrest made with a defective warrant, or one issued without affidavit, or one that fails to allege a crime is within jurisdiction, and one who is being arrested, may resist arrest and break away. lf the arresting officer is killed by one who is so resisting, the killing will be no more than an involuntary manslaughter.” Housh v. People, 75 111. 491; reaffirmed and quoted in State v. Leach, 7 Conn. 452; State v. Gleason, 32 Kan. 245; Ballard v. State, 43 Ohio 349; State v Rousseau, 241 P. 2d 447; State v. Spaulding, 34 Minn. 3621.

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