Officer denies use of excessive force

  • Follow Metro

A Richmond County school police officer said Tuesday that he did not use excessive force against a female student.

On Monday, Superintendent Dana Bedden released a letter of reprimand that criticized Officer David Barrios for pushing an Academy of Richmond County student into a wall after she had been handcuffed, driving her to the ground and later spraying pepper spray when she had begun to settle down.

But that's not what happened during the Aug. 30 incident, Officer Barrios said.

He agreed with part of the letter of reprimand that described him handcuffing the student after she instigated a fight and refused to leave campus.

According to the letter, the officer brought the student into administrative offices and used excessive force to get her under control, ignoring her complaints of pain and complaints from other students and a teacher.

They might have been "ear witnesses," but they couldn't have been eyewitnesses, Officer Barrios said, citing the tight quarters in the school's office area.

The commotion the witnesses heard was actually the student tripping him, causing both of them to fall to the ground, he said. The fall left the officer injured and out of work for two days with a severely sprained wrist.

Officer Barrios said he did not see the letter of reprimand until Tuesday and never had an opportunity to rebut any of the witnesses or allegations in it.

He said he plans to meet with the superintendent today to explain what happened. According to his reprimand, he will be suspended for 20 days without pay, reassigned and placed on probation for the rest of the year.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (94) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 09/12/07 - 12:30 am
0
0
"Officer Barrios said he did

"Officer Barrios said he did not see the letter of reprimand until Tuesday and never had an opportunity to rebut any of the witnesses or allegations in it." Now that sounds more like the Richmond County Government way of discipline! In the RCSO they send them to a board of well-liked fellow officers give them guaranteed 16 hours unpaid suspension time for stuff such as being late for work or not answering their radio when called. That in turn gets sent up to the Sheriff for approval. If the officers wish to appeal take a wild guess who they appeal to... The same person who approved the suspension in the first place, the Sheriff. [filtered word]? Sounds like back woods politics to me. This officer has to appeal the punishment to the same person who approved his punishment the first time. Where is a citizen's review board when you need one??????????

timereader
0
Points
timereader 09/12/07 - 12:42 am
0
0
students in school today are

students in school today are way out of control. they threaten teachers ,have a smart mouth and try to bully others and start fights. something needs to be done.

Reality
3
Points
Reality 09/12/07 - 01:34 am
0
0
I am sure this student got

I am sure this student got less than she deserved. If she was acting like the officer described ,she should have gotten a night in jail to show her where her actions are taking her...

I_the_stranger
5
Points
I_the_stranger 09/12/07 - 01:50 am
0
0
David, sounds like you need

David, sounds like you need to call the P. B. A.!!

overdose
0
Points
overdose 09/12/07 - 02:25 am
0
0
are you kidding me? look at

are you kidding me? look at this officer's track record...i bet it's not clean.

Reality
3
Points
Reality 09/12/07 - 03:20 am
0
0
I am sure this girl was an

I am sure this girl was an angel as well.

bone
23
Points
bone 09/12/07 - 03:36 am
0
0
we do know one thing for

we do know one thing for sure: either both the officer and student are white or they are both black. no doubt the chronicle would have QUICKLY pointed out any possible racial motivation for this incident.

jaschild
9
Points
jaschild 09/12/07 - 03:49 am
0
0
thanks for that, bone. the

thanks for that, bone. the officer is white- i'm sure someone else will chime in about the student.

jaschild
9
Points
jaschild 09/12/07 - 03:50 am
0
0
but you are right, it sure is

but you are right, it sure is quiet out there.

Reality
3
Points
Reality 09/12/07 - 03:56 am
0
0
We all know if there is any

We all know if there is any chance of race being brought up, it will be.....

bone
23
Points
bone 09/12/07 - 04:18 am
0
0
how do you know that,

how do you know that, jaschild? did i miss something in the article which pointed out the race of the officer?

happythoughts
25
Points
happythoughts 09/12/07 - 04:24 am
0
0
Now he needs to explain what

Now he needs to explain what happened? Sounds like he conjured up something.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 09/12/07 - 04:29 am
0
0
If the door to the office was

If the door to the office was closed the maybe the 'earwitnesses' conjured up something.

nofrills
0
Points
nofrills 09/12/07 - 04:32 am
0
0
we keep this up and no

we keep this up and no officer will want to work the schools, come on people he is doing the job we dont want to do! This girl was a trouble maker and has had several dealings with the law before hand

BakersfieldCityLimits
1
Points
BakersfieldCityLimits 09/12/07 - 04:54 am
0
0
Same old song and dance, get

Same old song and dance, get with it people its 2007, stand up for our rights.

chatty814
0
Points
chatty814 09/12/07 - 05:03 am
0
0
I think she should have spent

I think she should have spent a night in jail, alot of these high school students are out of control and they know they can get away with alot of the crap they dish out. These days if you spank your child (or not) all they have to do is call the law and you are being arrested for assault, yet when they are the assaulters the law is saying "poor thing" he/she is being abused while the whole time the kid is laughing in your face knowing what he/she is doing. The fact is you cannot dicipline a child in this country anymore without it being turned into abuse, but if the child goes out of control the law wants to blame and punish the parents.

avidreader
3567
Points
avidreader 09/12/07 - 05:06 am
0
0
On this particular day, all

On this particular day, all of the police officers were under duress, but they all maintained a professional cool -- except for Barrios; he was way out of control. Our school secretary was severely affected by the pepper spray. Her eye witness account will clear up any misunderstandings concerning fault. I am not sympathetic with these thug kids; however, there are limitations as to how they are treated once subdued.

Tim Walters
1
Points
Tim Walters 09/12/07 - 05:18 am
0
0
This is Dana Bedden's First

This is Dana Bedden's First Round in the Richmond County POOH _ POOH Factory. It did not take him long at all to get in the groove. Must be a fast learner.

chatty814
0
Points
chatty814 09/12/07 - 05:24 am
0
0
arcteacher, I disagree with

arcteacher,
I disagree with you on that one Just because they are in handcuffs does not mean they cannot do anymore damage or cause anymore bodily harm (was'nt Brian Nichols in handcuffs when he shot those people in Atlanta). If they put themselves in the position to be manhandled (just a figure of speech) then they deserve what they get. The need to learn how to behave in a civilized manner.

ConsiderThis
0
Points
ConsiderThis 09/12/07 - 05:41 am
0
0
If I am not mistaken, the

If I am not mistaken, the appeal process does not go to the superintendent, the employee cann ask for the school board to hear an appeal. Also, an investigation usually includes writtenn statements from all involved including the accused, so that would be the method the employee would provide their version of the incident. Did anyone see the news, three other officers were cleared of any accusations against them.

justus4
113
Points
justus4 09/12/07 - 05:53 am
0
0
Mental evaluations must be
Unpublished

Mental evaluations must be ordered for law enforcement to weed out low-lifes that seek to misuse positions of authority. This is a typical case of abuse of power and he has been punished. RCBE acted professionally and gave the officer his due process. He created the events and must look at his choice of careers.

karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 09/12/07 - 06:02 am
0
0
How could Bedden have written

How could Bedden have written a letter and made a decision without talking with the Officer?????????

karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 09/12/07 - 06:07 am
0
0
I told all of you yesterday

I told all of you yesterday getting to the truth is not gonna happen...everyone will become blind and deaf in a few days.
As for Officer Barrios walk away my friend and do not look back....let them beat and stab each other up and down the hallways.......it aint worth your time.

mojoinaugusta
35
Points
mojoinaugusta 09/12/07 - 06:18 am
0
0
Still no report on what

Still no report on what happended to the student - was she suspended, reprimanded? Not a smart move to make a decision on the officer's fate without an interview or chance to respond - we haven't heard then end of this.

ripjones
2
Points
ripjones 09/12/07 - 07:11 am
0
0
Justus4 - You are out of your

Justus4 - You are out of your mind. Mental evaluations are done on every law enforcement officer, during the hiring process. This was NOT a typical case - there is no such thing as a typical case. If Dr. Bedden did not even speak to the officer, to get his side, then he has already lost my support, and acted very unprofessionally. Dr. Bedden will need to redeem himself. As I said yesterday, I would like to see BOEs get out of the law enforcement business, and stick to teaching, which they are supposed to know SOMETHING about. If sheriff deputies are in the schools, things would be handled in a timely manner. And things would be correctly reported, instead of "forgetting" to notify proper authorities, like in Richmond and Columbia counties. Take the BOE public safety officers, and attach them to sheriff office. I don't want anyone to lose their job, these are good people, I just want them to have a different boss.

HGGP
0
Points
HGGP 09/12/07 - 07:27 am
0
0
arcteacher/ And what cereal

arcteacher/ And what cereal box university did you get your degree at?

I am an officer of the law and I can tell you first hand that until you have been in a similiar situation you can not know what steps you will need to take. It sounds to me like the screaming out of control "thug" needed what he gave her and more that he did not. Walk a day in our "boots" and see what you would do when someone is a threat to your safety and the safety of others. Until that time people with your attitude are the reason why good officers are placed on administrative leave without pay.

mackaroni
0
Points
mackaroni 09/12/07 - 07:40 am
0
0
An investigation must be

An investigation must be conducted first! And a statement of the finding.must be conducted. Because at this point, it is hear-say.and where does the truth lie. Their are (3) sides to a story, his side, their side, and the truth. And to make a statement, and the facts are not true, you are defaming that Officers character and career. Lets be fair on all accord, and not be hostile.

dizzyjo
0
Points
dizzyjo 09/12/07 - 07:50 am
0
0
When we as a society allowed

When we as a society allowed prayer and discipline to be taken out of the schools, accepted the moral decay in the programs shown on television and refuse to hold our children accountable for their actions, this is the result. Whether there was excessive force or not, there should not have been a need for force at all. Today's youth do not respect authority and that in part is due to the fact that not all authority figures are deserving. If there is such a great need for security in our public school system today, what will tomorrow's youth encounter if nothing changes?
If excessive force was used then disciplinary action is in order. The student should face consequences for her actions as well and they should be swift and severe. This type of behavior should not be tolerated for any reason.

InChristLove
22485
Points
InChristLove 09/12/07 - 08:12 am
0
0
dizzyjo I totally agree with

dizzyjo I totally agree with you. If the officer is the only one disciplined what kind of message are we sending our children - that it's okay to be disrespectful and act like a tyrant. I don't understand why neither article mentioned what action was taken against the student for being involved in a fight.

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
Points
WorriedAboutOurFuture 09/12/07 - 08:15 am
0
0
Doesn't sound to me like this

Doesn't sound to me like this brat was subdued at all, or that Barrios got anything like due process. I hope the system doesn't lose somebody we need. I can't imagine he would want to stay in a job having such a regressive management style though.

Back to Top
loading...
Top headlines

Stormwater fee to fund Columbia County repairs

Columbia County is set to invest an additional $600,000 in its aging stormwater system next year, with the hope that more money and manpower will result in half as many repair orders and fewer ...
Search Augusta jobs