Originally created 09/26/02

GBI will examine traffic-stop arrest



An Augusta man's complaint that Richmond County deputies used excessive force during a traffic stop was forwarded Wednesday to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

A relative of Laterrio Deandre Collins filed the complaint with the sheriff's office after Mr. Collins' arm was broken, his arm and knee were cut and he was doused with pepper spray during a traffic stop Friday on Fairhope Street near Sand Bar Ferry Road, said Sheriff Ronnie Strength.

Mr. Collins, 20, was treated at University Hospital and transferred to the Richmond County jail.

According to police, Mr. Collins' injuries resulted from his pointing a 9 mm pistol at Deputy Paul Kervin and trying to grab the officer's weapon from his holster.

Mike Seigler, the special agent in charge of the GBI's Thomson office, said his agency is investigating a complaint that Mr. Collins' civil rights were violated by the use of excessive force.

He said Sheriff Strength wanted to avoid any appearance of impropriety by asking the GBI to conduct an independent investigation.

A sheriff's report, written by Investigator Dan Carrier, describes the traffic stop:

Deputy Kervin and Deputy Bob Harrell stopped a Chevrolet Monte Carlo for a seat belt violation at about 4 p.m. Friday. Mr. Collins allowed Deputy Kervin to search the vehicle, and the deputy asked him to step out of the car.

When Mr. Collins got out, he reached into his waistband and pulled a Ruger 9 mm handgun and pointed it at Deputy Kervin. The deputy knocked the gun from the man's hand and put him on the ground.

During the struggle, Mr. Collins tried to remove the officer's service revolver several times, the report said.

Mr. Collins, of the 2000 block of Ryan Road, was charged with attempted aggravated assault, obstruction of a law enforcement officer and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

He was being held Wednesday at the county jail.

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or greg.rickabaugh@augustachronicle.com.