Mom says officers used excessive force at school

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Two Richmond County school public safety officers are under investigation after being accused of using excessive force against a student in their custody.

Charmaine Wilkerson said the officers used "brutality" in arresting her 18-year-old son at the Jan. 26 Josey High School basketball game, where he was on a date with his girlfriend.

Public Safety Director Julia Porter-Stein confirmed the internal affairs investigation but declined to comment further. Through his secretary, Superintendent Dana Bedden also declined to comment because the investigation is ongoing.

David Wilkerson had parked in a handicapped spot but felt guilty after going into the game, his mother said.

He left the game to move his car, but she said that when he tried to re-enter, an officer prevented him from doing so and an argument ensued. The officer then called for backup.

"While in their custody, they beat him up while handcuffed," Mrs. Wilkerson said.

Her son, who was charged with disorderly conduct, suffered injuries that included burns, bruises and an injured shoulder, she said.

She was unsure what caused the burns but said he required medical care for his injuries.

She also accused the officers of using abusive language, including racial slurs, to humiliate David and of taking $10 from him when patting him down for drugs.

Earlier this school year, an internal investigation found that an officer at the Academy of Richmond County acted inappropriately and used excessive force with a female student who had been handcuffed.

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

Comments (138) Add comment
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Rose
17
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Rose 02/06/08 - 02:38 pm
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0
We don't know the whole story

We don't know the whole story yet.

He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named
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He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named 02/06/08 - 02:42 pm
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Listen everybody, the facts

Listen everybody, the facts that he had injuries and was handcuffed doesn't mean he was handcuffed and then beaten up. It's far more likely he was injured in the act of resisting while they were trying to handcuff him. The burns are easily explainable in this way. Anyone who ever slid on a gym floor will tell you that you get burns from it. If he was struggling while they tried to cuff him..that's probably how it happened. I'm not tying to say that IS what happened. I'm just saying a lot of you seem to be taking the mother's word for a good bit of this information. It's pretty likely she is just going off what her son told her. You are essentially taking the word of one party without so much as hearing the other side.

He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named
0
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He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named 02/06/08 - 02:46 pm
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And wouldn't it be incredibly

And wouldn't it be incredibly stupid for the officers to act as inappropriately as some of you are speculating, in front of so many witnesses. Again, I'm not saying it didn't happen the way the mother tells it, but it just seems like we're only getting half the story at best.

butterflygina
159
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butterflygina 02/06/08 - 02:49 pm
0
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adam it is not necessary to

adam it is not necessary to cripple a person because they park in a handicapped space. Anyway, hopefully the whole story will come out and and those who have the wrong ideas will get their facts straight. And I don't appreciate you all that think that the student is the culprit without knowing more.

BakersfieldCityLimits
1
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BakersfieldCityLimits 02/06/08 - 03:02 pm
0
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I can assure that a new day

I can assure that a new day is comming, when we elect Obama the days when a black man can be chained and beaten will be over. Maybe when we bring all our troops home they can police our streets under the peaceful reign of Pres. Obama

thomasbrooks3000
0
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thomasbrooks3000 02/06/08 - 03:15 pm
0
0
That mother should use force

That mother should use force at all.

SilentJ
0
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SilentJ 02/06/08 - 03:16 pm
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thomasbrooks----English

thomasbrooks----English please

dani
12
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dani 02/06/08 - 03:20 pm
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This is beyond being

This is beyond being ridiculous. The facts of this story are not even known, just something a woman said that might or might not be true. What did witnesses(if any) say? What did the officers say? The facts will come to light, NEVER doubt it.

teacher09
12
Points
teacher09 02/06/08 - 03:28 pm
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0
I work with one of the police

I work with one of the police officers and I have seen him threatened to his face with statements such as "I'm going to shoot you in the chest". I admire that this man is still able to come in every day to protect these students and the faculty. Whenever a call is made, he is there - no matter how big or small the need is. I feel safer attending events at my school knowing that this officer is on duty. He truly cares for these students and is always there for them - giving them money to buy breakfast or lunch because they didn't eat last night, giving them guidance when they have no one at home to provide structure, support, and shelter. At a football game when two students were ready to throw down and fight, he broke through the crowd and immediately took control of the situation without any harm being done. I have never witnessed this man using excessive force unless absolutely necessary. And yes, even in handcuffs, a person can be deadly. I have seen handcuffed girls be just as dangerous as someone free to use both hands. If police officers are going to keep being subjected to harassment like this, we will have to close schools because I for one do not want to teach.

SilentJ
0
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SilentJ 02/06/08 - 03:40 pm
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I am more than positive that

I am more than positive that the schools will not have to close just because police officers are being harassed ,that makes no sense at all!!Officers are trained to do their jobs and if they do them correctly then there are no worries harassment or no harassment!

TakeAstand
13
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TakeAstand 02/06/08 - 03:43 pm
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Rose, Just because the man

Rose, Just because the man had injuries does not mean excessive force was used. I saw a man flip out while being arrested and it took 4 cops to cuff him. He was punching kicking fighting and endangering everyone in our establishment and the cops used nothing excessive and actually maintained perfect professionalism and the man after being handcuffed tried to run again and was tackled his shoulder hitting the wall pretty hard but he was running towards me and my workers not out of the establishment and his problems started at another establishment he ran into our trying to get away. this guy was high on something the way he was acting with so much energy. And he sustained his busted lip and stuff just resisting, all his injuries were his fault. The next day his family was claiming the same thing. If he wasn't beat.. where did the injuries come from... that's BS. If you resist while officers are attempting to subdue you, you may get injured and it is your own fault!!! So his injuries do not convince me of anything. I have seen it many times first hand. so until the offical reports and witnesses come forward don't think he's a victim just because he has injuries.

Rose
17
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Rose 02/06/08 - 03:46 pm
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0
Did I say he was a victim? No

Did I say he was a victim? No I did not.

Rose
17
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Rose 02/06/08 - 03:48 pm
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I said we don't know the

I said we don't know the whole story, but I am not assuming just because a cop says something that it is true.

dani
12
Points
dani 02/06/08 - 03:53 pm
0
0
We don't know what the cops

We don't know what the cops said, do we. I haven't heard anything about the cop or his department making a statement. Perhaps, we will hear it on the 6 PM.

Rose
17
Points
Rose 02/06/08 - 03:55 pm
0
0
I have checked all 3 local tv

I have checked all 3 local tv stations sites, and I don't see this story. Maybe it will be on the news tonight.

str8truth
0
Points
str8truth 02/06/08 - 04:11 pm
0
0
You won't hear anything

You won't hear anything because there is no story, it is a fabrication by a mother whose child has had numerous run-ins with the law.

Rose
17
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Rose 02/06/08 - 04:22 pm
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0
REVELATION187 you don't know

REVELATION187 you don't know that for sure.And it is a story. why should it be kept secret?

truthBtold
0
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truthBtold 02/06/08 - 04:34 pm
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i'm sure that when its all

i'm sure that when its all said and done the truth will be told. the child in question is 18 years of age and this would classify him as an adult so mom should step back and let the investigation take place. they should also look at if there were signs posted as at every other public high school game in the csra stating "no re-entry". if the proper decision was made from the start (not braeking the law by parking in a handicap parking space) then this would have never occured. i guess mom wants pitty for her sons actions by stating that he later felt guilty and this quilt is why he exited the gym. guilt should have made him look for another place to park from the beginning. if the officers took the money then they should be held accountable but this is another issue all together.

sandbag
0
Points
sandbag 02/06/08 - 05:00 pm
0
0
Oh well...........

Oh well...........

senior.23
0
Points
senior.23 02/06/08 - 05:08 pm
0
0
Handcuffed for no reason;

Handcuffed for no reason; racial slurs utterd, ALL ACCORDING TO MOM. No wonder this man drew attention to himself for whatever reason , he apparently gets NONE at home; and he sure has not received any guidance on how to be a productive member aof a civil society. Let' see why he was parked where he was and why he fekt compelled to return to his car. KIND OF A LAME EXCUSE THAT HE FELT GUILTY FOR PARKING IN A HANDICAP ZONE.

Rose
17
Points
Rose 02/06/08 - 05:17 pm
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dani concerning your 2:53

dani concerning your 2:53 post. We don't know what anyone said except the 18 yr old's mom.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 02/06/08 - 05:25 pm
0
0
How 'bout enlisting an

How 'bout enlisting an outside law enforcement agency to investigate the actions of the RCBOE school resource officers? Such an inquiry should more likely provide disinterested and credible results.

And, as an afterthought: do you think the RCBOE has trouble recruiting and retaining its school resource officers? Wonder if these officers'll be on their own if the outraged mom decides to file suit?

Hope Greg follows this investigation and any legal ramifications through to their conclusions.

senior.23
0
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senior.23 02/06/08 - 05:32 pm
0
0
grayv, "this happened to

grayv, "this happened to me"----- What on earth could you possibly have been doing to have the officers single you out to "beat down". WHY,ABSOLUTELY NOTHING OF COURSE. Just minding my own and being a respectful, productive member of our society. RIGHT????? LOL

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 02/06/08 - 05:32 pm
0
0
REVELATION187 I haven't

REVELATION187 I haven't forgotten Michael D. Stephenson or his wife and family. He was an exemplary man and officer. I met him, I spoke with him, he listened patiently and respectfully, I shook his hand with respect, he deserved respect. I used to live near the middle school that they named the gym after him (after his murder). Not long before the incident he handled a situation for me regarding a student who was trespassing on a nearby property, which might have endangered the student. To our knowledge, that student never trespassed on the fenced-in property again. What happened to Officer Stephenson was a tragedy. I'm not sure what happened in the situation above. Not enough facts. I hope that an investigation will come to the proper conclusions. I have no idea what those conclusions will be from the hearsay offered above.

KSL
134445
Points
KSL 02/06/08 - 05:46 pm
0
0
Remember, according to the

Remember, according to the article, we have Mom's side of the story. And she wasn't there.

Waymore
103
Points
Waymore 02/06/08 - 05:53 pm
0
0
How many of ya'll have had to

How many of ya'll have had to ever place handcuffs on an unwilling person? How many of you have had to try and put an uncooperative person into a patrol car? I don't care what the weight/height/age/gender of a person is, if they don't want to go to jail, they can be a handful, even when cuffed. Having said that, the police have no right to smack someone around once handcuffed, but they still may need to use some level of force to gain compliance even after being handcuffed.

Georgia1964
36
Points
Georgia1964 02/06/08 - 06:03 pm
0
0
First of all, Let's read in

First of all, Let's read in between the lines. Why was he hand-cuffed? Was the 18 year old exhibiting good manners? Why would the Officer take $10.00? Give me a break! Officer's get paid more than that to work at these games. The 18 year old evidently can't read or figure out that he parked in a handicapped parking space. I doubt that was an error. Either way, the police officer was doing his job. The mother needs to wake up and realize that her precious darling has a problem with following the law and respecting an AUTHORITY figure. All the 18 year old had to do was follow the law and I am sure the problem could have been resolved appropriately. However, we have already lost Officer Stephenson for trying to give a juvenile a break. We know this young man had many problems. I lost a colleague and most important a mother and father lost a son, a wife lost a husband, and 2 sons lost a father. How many breaks must we give these delinquents?

swopslash
0
Points
swopslash 02/06/08 - 06:04 pm
0
0
When i was younger one of my

When i was younger one of my dad's favorite sayings was, "Then don't do it". ---Your finger hurts when you move it? "Then don't move it." Bad hangovers? "Then don't drink." Cops put you in the "hurt locker" for mouthing off. Eh, well, how bout "don't mouth off"?? Sure there's more to the story. If a potential lawsuit is involved then a lot more's going to have happened. Moneyman--my dad was disabled so parking in a handicapped zone is a beat down offense as far as i'm concerned. But, you're right. Cops can be racist without a doubt. Racial slurs are the wrong way to go at any time--unless in a rap song, or a comedy show, or when at the mall hanging with your friends(but must be of same race and not white). And they should have helped you change that tire if they wanted you to move so badly. Peace.

Rose
17
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Rose 02/06/08 - 06:09 pm
0
0
If he has a record, it must

If he has a record, it must be a juvenile record. He is not on the Ga Corrections website.

SilentJ
0
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SilentJ 02/06/08 - 07:08 pm
0
0
We can speculate all night

We can speculate all night long fact is we have no facts!LOL

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