Another drug officer resigns

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For the second time in three months, a Richmond County narcotics officer has resigned, and Sheriff Ronnie Strength confirmed Monday the FBI is investigating.

Sheriff Strength said Investigator Cecil Ridley left the department Friday, joining former Sgt. Mathue Phares, who resigned in December.

Both men were working in narcotics at the time of their resignations. Neither Sheriff Strength nor FBI special agent Ed Reinhold would discuss the investigations.

According to personnel records obtained by The Augusta Chronicle, Mr. Phares faced disciplinary actions four times during his 17-year career. The most serious incident occurred in 1991 when he was sent to check on a possible burglary and didn't get out of his patrol car to inspect the building.

Mr. Ridley was disciplined nearly twice as often for other offenses, which included abusing his authority, lying to a superior officer, a domestic violence incident in 2000 and failing to show up for court hearings last year.

Mr. Phares and Mr. Ridley are the latest of four narcotics investigators who have resigned abruptly over the past year.

Robert Harrell resigned last March before disciplinary action could be taken against him. According to personnel records, he admitted on March 22 that he had fired his weapon while chasing a suspect on foot. He had lied to supervisors and internal affairs and twice committed perjury in regard to the incident, according to his personnel records.

Horace A. Spratley was forced to resign in June after physically abusing a suspect. According to a disciplinary report, the suspect said Mr. Spratley punched him twice in the face while he was handcuffed. Mr. Spratley said he hit the suspect in the face only with an open hand, the report states.

Prosecutors said Monday that they hope the latest resignations won't affect prosecutions of drug cases; however, the resignations of Mr. Harrell and Mr. Spratley have led to the dismissal of nearly 20 of their recent Richmond County drug cases, according to court and prosecution records.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

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fab5
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fab5 02/13/07 - 05:39 am
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gee, is it safe to say that

gee, is it safe to say that these recent drug bust reveal the officers that may have had a hand in it.

sassygalady30
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sassygalady30 02/13/07 - 05:52 am
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why was they still on the

why was they still on the force after all this ???who do we trust if we cant trust our own police officers....maybe ya'll need to check them for drugs sounds fishy.

ds6987
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ds6987 02/13/07 - 06:42 am
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With all the crack heads and

With all the crack heads and dope dealers running around the county the last thing anyone one has to do is plant drugs on anyone. I personally know Spratley and Ridley and they were doing a job that most people did not want to do. So, get ready to hand over your neighborhoods to all the dope heads, once you take away the ability of the police to police. Do not be so quick to judge them. The reason these two have remained officers for so long is because all of the accusations against them have been found to be unsubstantiated.

tusmooth1
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tusmooth1 02/13/07 - 07:00 am
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I knew Cecil and he wasnt

I knew Cecil and he wasnt dirty he just did his job in a different way, cats are about to go crazy now that he aint on the force anymore. Yeah I think that he may have done some things wrong but in the end he did the job and people on the street respected him and in turn he was able to get some stuff done.

CSRAider
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CSRAider 02/13/07 - 07:09 am
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Once again if you hang with

Once again if you hang with criminals you become one.

icanusethat
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icanusethat 02/13/07 - 07:14 am
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baseballer hahha that is a

baseballer hahha that is a under statement get a real life..that statement is untrue

ThurstonHowell
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ThurstonHowell 02/13/07 - 07:53 am
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Harrel was a good cop and I

Harrel was a good cop and I don't think he'd be easily replaced. He shot his gun in the air cause he was tired of chasing a loser with a warrant and wanted to make him stop. If you run from cops you should know you risk being shot. The DA was behind his resignation; quit or be prosecuted. Strength needs to back his guys and quit the politics.

takecharge2
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takecharge2 02/13/07 - 07:56 am
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The sad part is that 20 cases

The sad part is that 20 cases will be dismissed and the real scum of the earth will be set free. 2 points for our legal system.

sarah
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sarah 02/13/07 - 08:03 am
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It looks like some of this

It looks like some of this feedback is written by a 3rd grader. The cops put their lives on the line everyday to protect people who are too scared to protect themselves. You do not have to be guilty to be accused of wrongdoing. The cops are the first one's accused of being wrong. Normally it's a race complaint. Grow up, and work together to get drugs out of the neighborhoods! To, "icanusethat" you need an education, which you do not have, to become a cop. These men and women have to attend court on their days off, unpaid, unable to take vacation if they have court and unable to take time off unless their Sgt. or Lt. allow them too. What kind of job do you have?

NicoleKelly
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NicoleKelly 02/13/07 - 08:15 am
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Whatever!!!! I know

Whatever!!!! I know personally that these narc cops come in people's neighborhoods harassing them. They should do their jobs but they should also obey the same law that they are trying to convict people of. They aren't above the law. Yes, get all of the scum off the streets, but you don't have to go through some of the measures that these cops put people through. Let's just face it, some of our narc cops are dirty!!

Augusta
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Augusta 02/13/07 - 08:19 am
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I am all for police doing

I am all for police doing ANYTHING they have to do to get the thugs off the street...who cares if they punch them in the face, heck the scum deserves to be punched in the face...our society is so backwards these days with the criminal rights and whatnot...Who cares...they are criminals and thugs...beat them, shoot them, taser them who cares...Get them off the street....

Normal in CSRA
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Normal in CSRA 02/13/07 - 08:20 am
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n/a

icanusethat
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icanusethat 02/13/07 - 08:25 am
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nicolekelly thank you so much

nicolekelly thank you so much u could'nt have said it better..rma i can hire you if you need a job i own my own business and guess what he may have done his job but it wasn't the right way i can tell you that much.before you speak on anything i'm sure u wasn't there to see him or his lil crew in real action.

A policeofficer is there to help you not curse you and beat you.not all or like that but i grant you 85% of them or the worse

icanusethat
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icanusethat 02/13/07 - 08:37 am
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oh yes rms i can become a cop

oh yes rms i can become a cop if i wanted too.i've been to college..why would i want to be a cop?they don't make any money i love money that little check they make wont even pay my land rover car note let's not forget my house note either.

you do not need education to be a cop little training anybody can be a cop.it's not hard to learn anything you want to learn.

sarah
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sarah 02/13/07 - 08:40 am
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icanusethat, It must not be

icanusethat, It must not be much of a business by the way you speak. I agree, not all cops are perfect, but do not group them all together. Drugs are the downfall of good people. If the person that is being arrested and they resist, then they deserve what they get. That inlcudes being hit, cursed or beaten.

seemenow
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seemenow 02/13/07 - 09:28 am
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I know a few people that have

I know a few people that have fallen victim to the narc's. They manipulate innocent people with fear to so call enforce the law. True police do not make a lot of money for what they have to go through, BUT THAT STILL DOES NOT PUT THEM ABOVE THE LAW.

hmm
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hmm 02/13/07 - 09:34 am
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Yes, you do have to have a

Yes, you do have to have a high school education to be a cop. You need more education to know that the police are required to follow the laws just as much as you and I are. These officers were not following protocal and were violating the laws that we all must abide by. They were trying to do a good thing, but went about it the wrong way. Hitting handcuffed suspects who have not been found guilty is highly inappropriate and should be dealt with.

gewells
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gewells 02/13/07 - 10:41 am
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Ms. Susan Hodson, I have read

Ms. Susan Hodson, I have read this article and cannot believe Augusta Chronicle let it run. Where is the proof to back these allegations. If I was Mr. Ridley, I would hire an attorney. If the FBI and the Sherriff would not comment, did you not think maybe Mr. Ridley has not been named in the investigations by the FBI. ( Your wording in this article suggests otherwise.) You do know and chose not to print how long the FBI has been investigating the narcotics department. If this is the second time in three months, maybe the FBI should be investigating the heads. How did you take Mr. Ridleys' resigning and print this article, without printing exactly why he resigned. You simply took the fact that he did resign on Friday and attached it to another officers' name that happened to resigned in December and was in the narcotics division. I failed to see how this article benefited Augusta citizens with informative news. You probable never tried to reach Mr. Ridley for comment. This article sounds as though it was leaked or given to you, with the intent of trashing Mr. Ridley's name and reputation. There is no proof in this article...yet there is a sentence of guilty.

sarah
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sarah 02/13/07 - 11:31 am
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Amen deerkiller. He probably

Amen deerkiller. He probably does not even have a land rover much less a house payment. The way he speaks, he is probably a dealer too!

justus4
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justus4 02/13/07 - 11:41 am
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The police department here is
Unpublished

The police department here is a joke! Where are the charges against the officers? What about punishment? Where is the DA? How many more are corrupt? This is a FAILURE of leadership and should be federally investigated. Whats next!?

BoldTruth
0
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BoldTruth 02/13/07 - 11:45 am
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Hey, if I had to deal with

Hey, if I had to deal with some of the people that these Narc Cops deal with I would have a disciplinary record also. Some of these young thugs only respond to hard violence

Rowanda
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Rowanda 02/13/07 - 01:45 pm
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well i know fora fact that

well i know fora fact that Ridley go around picking on folks .where im from the narcs are down right nasty ,they tell you shut the f-k up , a cop should have know right to speak to any body that way. they pull you over if you wear dredlocks they think everyone that has dreds sell drugs AND THAT IS JUST WRONG.

AlvKel7
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AlvKel7 02/13/07 - 01:54 pm
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the police is not above the

the police is not above the law. most law abiding citizen want to see the durgs taken off the streets, but the officers that enforces our laws are subject to laws as well. if the officers felt that they were not guilty, why did they not do as all citizen have the right the right to do, have there day in court.

hoser123
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hoser123 02/13/07 - 02:12 pm
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I can tell you firsthand,

I can tell you firsthand, losing your peace officer certification over some bullcrap when you are the one to come clean about a simple mistake is punishment alone. The brass would never have found out what happened if I didn't come forward with it. I know of deputies punished for getting a DUI, but not fired; sleeping with their subbordinates, but not fired. I have personally seen supervisors give drunk drivers rides home after he carved up half I520 with his rim, and a lot of other bull crap. But I'm the one to get canned after a paperwork screwup. I was getting ready to leave rcso anyway; but darnit taking my freaking cert. over the crap was to darn far. (No I am not mentioned in this story, thank god my resignation wasn't a freaking story) Working for a sheriff in GA there is no justice there is only 'his law'. You get on his bad side, and you're out the darn door with post council on your but.

milkman65
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milkman65 02/13/07 - 02:48 pm
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I think this commentary

I think this commentary speaks for itself as far as the writer's education level. Been to college, now lets go back and finish.

departed
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departed 02/13/07 - 02:57 pm
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i feel sorry for all the

i feel sorry for all the people in richmond county, because the word is out to all the drug dealers. the narcotic officer's hands are tide and they can take control of the neighborhoods.

work for a living
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work for a living 02/13/07 - 04:04 pm
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The sad part to all of this

The sad part to all of this is that the drug dealers win. I don't know the officers and so I can't really give an opinion on them but I do know I would not want my child to be in law inforcement because the pay is terrible for what these people have to put up with. I would not jeopardize my life or would want my child to for these thugs who have more rights than the innocent. I would rather my child risk his life by fighting in our military for the innocent who can't fight for themselves and yea the pay there is just as low but at least if they died in service is wouldn't be in vein for a thug. I realize our cops join to protect and serve but I am sure it is very hard when you deal with thugs who are allowed to curse you, spit on you, hit you and threaten your life and yet you can't do anything to protect yourself. I can see why some turn themselves.

MichaelE.Jones
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MichaelE.Jones 02/13/07 - 04:21 pm
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You know it is really amazing

You know it is really amazing that individuals have posted many of the comments that have been written. It doesn't matter if a person has a 3rd grade or doctorate level education the fact is that any form of violation of judicially established laws is wrong. You cannot violate the law to uphold the law. We should not stoop to 3rd grade antics to belittle someone about their opinion. If you had a 9mm gun pulled to your head for riding in a Mercedes you would not be concerned about what someone's education level was. It is kind of ridiculous to hear tht people support despot type policing in a democratic society. Policeman are supposed to be peace officers not enforcers, protectors not punishers, respecters of the system not renouncers of the process, examples and not licensed thugs. I am college educated, professional, law abiding, and an upholder of divine law (an ordained minister of the gospel) and I've personally experienced former detective Ridley's plantation style tactics. Individuals who support dictator style gov't obviously has no respect for democracy. Noone should exist in fear and prejudice. We must remember one thing about the individuals that you want to be treated like wild animals, they are human.

ForHim
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ForHim 02/13/07 - 04:51 pm
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Right is right and wrong is

Right is right and wrong is wrong no matter who you are. I personally believe that police officers should be held to a higher standard than most. Anyone in a leadership position should. If these officers were not guilty, why would they be quitting?

ej2000n
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ej2000n 02/13/07 - 05:39 pm
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I agree with the last comment

I agree with the last comment and the minister. Being a police is a public service or duty which everone yu want to call it. Pay should not be a question when you take a public service job. You are there for the specific purpose of upholding the law. People just don't resign for nothing and the FEDS dont investigate because the have nothing else to do. Check the history anytime a government official resigns whether its law enforcement or politics somethings wrong.

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