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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whatashame
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whatashame 02/13/07 - 05:42 pm
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Boy I tell you the truth.

Boy I tell you the truth. Here we go again defending thugs. I know some of the cops down here go a little above and beyond but damn look at what some of these folks do to be put in these situations. Look at how businesses are affected by others, or how children can't even come out and play without parents having to worry about anything happening to their children. Ridley was a little rough but he got the job done. And as far as rough if you sell dope you will do anything to keep from going to jail, fight, run, or kill. So what if you get slapped with handcuffs on, they should have thought about that before they had cuffs on.

MichaelE.Jones
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MichaelE.Jones 02/13/07 - 05:55 pm
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whatashame it is not about

whatashame it is not about defending the thugs. It is about officers who are acting just like the thugs. It is about officers who are victimizing innocent people just like the thugs. It is about the officers who are putting fear in the hearts of criminals but also law abiding citizens, just like the thugs are doing. It is about officers who are harassing individuals and over-exerting their authority just like the thugs. It is about officers who have thuggish behavior with government backing. You know, this type of behavior has been seen throughout history when you have individuals who use coercive/ abusive authority to justify their means of governing. Let's remember the totalitarian, authoritarian systems of Marx, Stalin, and Hitler, and American slavery. You tell me when should it stop. Dr. Martin Luther King said, an injsutice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. If Law enforcement agents do not adhere to the law it creates a construct to systematic demise. It is like a house that has a weak foundation. If the foundation doesn't support the house it is going to fall. Officers who do not support the law actually are helping it disintegrate. Like my mother use to say "two wrongs do not make a right". I hope that you can see that one wrong doesn't justify another.

whatashame
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whatashame 02/13/07 - 06:00 pm
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Come on folks. Yes these

Come on folks. Yes these thugs are human but I bet you would not be typing any of this crap if they shoot and kill one of your family members, or better yet try to carjack you, or check this out rape your daughter or female family member because of drugs or just because they thought it would be fun to do. Then everybody would be screaming where were the police. If these streets were so full of good hearted people then Richmond county would not have had to answer as many calls as they have already this year. Check out the stats. Damn who is going to protect us if we keep complaining about the force used on people that are repeat offenders and for those that don't obviously care about their future or anybody elses. Give the Sherriffs dept. a break.

MichaelE.Jones
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MichaelE.Jones 02/13/07 - 06:20 pm
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whatashame I admire your

whatashame I admire your passion and zeal but you are not hearing me. I love the American judicial system. I AM A LAW ABIDING, LAW SUPPORTING, CITIZEN OF THIS GREAT CONSTITUTION. My uncle was an Augusta Policeman for many years and he was fired because he violated the law. I support police work because it is a needed entity in the world. But if a Policeman abuses the law he is a criminal point blank. Yes there are many good officers on the police department. But did you ever think about this, fear brings about desparation and retaliation. The officers who abuse their authority not only endanger their lives by not following protocol and procedures, but they also endanger their co-workers lives with their renegade behavior. I have had family members harmed by the thugs. I have also had guns put to my face by the thugs. I have also had family members (who are law abiding citizens) harmed by over zealous police officers and I have had a gun put to my face recently by over- zealous police officers. My friend, in those situations I could not tell the difference between the law breakers and the law makers. It felt the same. The only difference was the cops insincerely apologized

WW1949
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WW1949 02/13/07 - 06:59 pm
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Mr. Jones, why was a gun put

Mr. Jones, why was a gun put in your face. I've lived in Augusta 58 years and have never had that problem. I have always obeyed the law and have never argued with a police officer. I don't go to places where thugs hang out. I'm sure there must be a good reason why you were harassed. The police deal with all the dregs of society and are hardly around decent people except their famileys and coworkers and I'm sure that has an effect on their judgement sometimes especially if a small crowd is around. My dealings with police officers has always been good and they have always been respectiful. When in a crowd a police officer has to take immediate control or he or she could be harmed. There is nothing wrong with this. I do agree with you that no one should be abused while in custody and certainly not in handcufs. But, I do not have any pity on a drug dealer, robber, or any one who would steal from me or anyone else or harm anyone. I think jail should be so tough that the person would not want to go back.

Knight Mom
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Knight Mom 02/13/07 - 07:09 pm
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hoser123, same thing happened

hoser123, same thing happened to me with the so; i lost mine for a non-criminal act. I couldn't even get infernal repairs to answer questions related to the incident.I didn't even bother appealing the cert, not worth my time. I got a degree instead, now i make more than the so and don't have to put my life on the line.

he-motions
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he-motions 02/13/07 - 07:15 pm
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I knew ridley and although

I knew ridley and although his tactics were on the edge, these clowns in the streets knew, when he came around get yourself in check. Ridley reminded me of denzel on Training Day, you have to be just as grimy as these thugs out here on the streets. u may not like him, but you will respect him. Ridley had these boys so shook because they never knew when he was going to pop up, but when he did, the boys on the block knew throw it away,swallow or go to jail. Ridley if you are reading this go do your thing man, Augusta was never ready for your police style in the first place, if richmond county had more like you, i honestly beleive our streets,our communities, and our kids would be a little bit safer.

herewego
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herewego 02/13/07 - 08:17 pm
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How sad this is. Had

How sad this is. Had everyone been minding their own buisness, there would be nothing to write about. The officers job was to do what he did...lock the creep up..if he was in fact committing one of the acts everyone assumes he was doing...The court would decide his fate. Police Officers are there to take them to justice, not administer it. But like society, you have good and bad people...it doesn't matter what their title is. As for the Gentlemen that asked what was the other man doing to get a gun put in his face by a cop...what planet did he come from? Augusta, as I remember it wasn't so bad..and my thoughts of returning are now just that...Since neither of us can put ourselves in the others shoes (really), be mindful, that someday it could happen to you and the thoughts you have now will change in an instant. If it hasn't happened to you yet, it's not that you are so great or law abiding, it just hasn't happened to you yet. Both sides...the good and the bad. Instead of judging people..I would think prayer is in order. And don't forget to pray to see the other persons side. You might be suprised.

WW1949
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WW1949 02/13/07 - 09:13 pm
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herewego, I didn't say or

herewego, I didn't say or pretend I was so great. I just said it had never happened to me. I passed no judgement on anyone. All I asked was a question. I like to hear both side of the problem. The problem with some people is that they don't want to hear other sides. What is so wrong that law abiding citizens want jail so tough? What is so wrong with keeping criminals locked up? I do see other sides but I choose not to be a bleeding heart for people that would do harm to others by selling drugs, stealing or hurting others. I am just an average person that is fed up with criminals and I don't care what happens to them just like they don't care what they do to anyone as long as it makes them feel good.

rivey
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rivey 02/13/07 - 09:24 pm
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don't walk the walk if you

don't walk the walk if you can;t talk the talk(ie. don't throw the stone)

watching
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watching 02/13/07 - 09:49 pm
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n/a

rivey
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rivey 02/13/07 - 10:09 pm
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tell that to them duke boys

tell that to them duke boys

Esimons81
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Esimons81 02/13/07 - 11:03 pm
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It’s a sad day when we attack

It’s a sad day when we attack the only people that stand up for us. If anyone knew the truth behind the allegations made against Ridley, they would be shocked. The F.B.I. investigated him and could find no wrong, but the black community hated him. No matter where he went in this area black people did not appreciate the fact that Ridley (a black man) grew up in the area and targeted drug dealers. The truth shall set you free, and in this situation I hope that Ridley will still be able to get a job after all the untruthful things that are being said about him. Things that were brought up stating Ridley was involved in a domestic violence incident in 2000 are ridiculous. Does anyone care to know that the situation was cleared up as a false arrest and liable lawsuit against Aiken County? The Sheriff’s Office wants a job done as long as it does not step on too many toes. If the criminals complain, things will change! The Sheriff’s Office has Internal Affairs Investigators that would rather prove a deputy wrong than right. Even the criminals have lawyers appointed to them but not the deputies. It seems they are guilty until proven innocent. Show me a drug dealer that won’t lie.

augusta706reader
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augusta706reader 02/14/07 - 03:22 am
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well first of all i would

well first of all i would like to say that i don't use drugs nor sell them. i knew and would see ridley around in only black neighborhoods just picking on ppl. i have cousins that live in the projects and i would go and visit them and just see how he messed with ppl for no reason. even if they had been in trouble b/f and was tryin to do the right thing he would mess with them. u remember one day while visiting my cousin he rode up in his dodge intp. and asked me did i know someone. i told him no and he replied i do u wanna go to jail today? and i asked him why would i go to jail i haven't did anything wrong? he didn't respond. finally he drove off and started to harrass someone else down the street. he has a very bad, and arogant attitude. he shouldn't had a chance to resign he should have been fired a long time ago!!!!

WW1949
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WW1949 02/14/07 - 09:09 am
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I don't care what officers do

I don't care what officers do to drug dealers. Hang them in the back lot if they are caught selling to children.

CATLOVER
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CATLOVER 02/14/07 - 09:59 am
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This world is in a sad state

This world is in a sad state of affairs! WE pay big bucks to hoopers,kickers,stickers and other sports players, when we should be paying folks that are doing significant jobs! WAKE UP AMERICA!!!1

MichaelE.Jones
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MichaelE.Jones 02/14/07 - 12:01 pm
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bjonesiii, I'll tell you

bjonesiii, I'll tell you exactly what I was doing. I was visiting my family and friends. I'm an Augusta native and I was visiting my family for the Christmas holidays. A friend and I were riding to Jackson, SC to go to the race track. My Friend who is a locomotive engineer has a very nice Mercedes Benz. We were riding down Laney-Walker Blvd. when Ridley pulled us over and violated every judicial and civil rights statute. What was I doing to get a gun put to my face. You tell me, other than minding my business.

sarah
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sarah 02/14/07 - 01:11 pm
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To Michael Jones, which of

To Michael Jones, which of your rights were violated? Were you arrested? So you were pulled over for "just riding in a mercedes" or where you in a known drug area? There are always two sides to every story. Cops are always wrong no matter what. They do not have the backing of their boss. Try going through what they do. How would you handle a call where a 2 year old child was placed in boiling water by his mothers boyfriend? When you get to the call,m the skin is hanging off this baby and this what cops deal with.They need to incorportae the death penalty again. I am tired of supporting all of these criminals in jail and prison.

YESWECAN
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YESWECAN 02/14/07 - 04:17 pm
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Of course his rights were

Of course his rights were violated!! He may have not been arrested, but he was violated. What could possibly be a legit reason for putiing a gun to someones face who hasn't done anything. This has nothing to with what police see day to day. This is dealing with the wrong doings of the people who are suppose to be our protectors.

WW1949
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WW1949 02/14/07 - 11:34 pm
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Michael E. Jones, I suspect

Michael E. Jones, I suspect Mr. Ridley was very wrong just to pull you over with no reason and that he oversteped his duties. Had you been pulling over to the curb and going around the neighborhood is a suspecious manner then he may have had a reason to stop you. If what you say is the truth and I have no reason to doubt it then I agree with you. Just because I asked what the reasons were that ended with a gun in your face did not mean that I suspected you of anything. I was just curious why. Pulling you over has no connection to what Sarah said but I agree with her that criminals need tougher punishment-Mr. Ridley was a narcotics officer not a detective. He would most likely not have been on a call like she was writing about. I'm sorry you and your friend had to suffer that kind of indiginity.

unknown1
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unknown1 02/16/07 - 04:34 am
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Mr. Michael E. Jones I
Unpublished

Mr. Michael E. Jones I understand and agree with everything you have said. You are a very articulate person. I personally had the privilege of a personal encounter with Ridley. He was on administration leave when he pulled me over because of a personal dispute with a "friend" of his. As far as being compared with Denzel on traingin day is absolutely crazy. Denzel gets millions for what he does while Ridley thows his badge around for no reason. The reason why so many people hate him is being he has no concept or clue about respect, dignity or honor. He needs to understand that in order to get respect you must first give respect...not repect him because he had a badge. He was caught up in the concept of :do as I say and not as I do. Well Ridley...my pants go on just like yours...one leg at a time. Your resignation was well worth the wait because I knew it was a matter of time before you got what you deserve. Could not have come at a better time.

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