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03-06-06, 05:59 PM #1
Two Deputy's fired for excessive force after chasing a suspect vehicle at high speeds
Two Camden County sheriff's deputies were fired Wednesday after an internal investigation of their actions during a three-county chase last month found they endangered the public safety by chasing a car at high speeds and beating the driver when the pursuit ended.
Albert Bannon Crosby, 29, and Richard Sean Billington, 36, both deputies since 2000, were terminated after a review of the chase and arrest of a North Carolina man before dawn on Feb. 6.
The investigation found that Crosby and Billington violated the department policy by not breaking off the chase because it endangered public safety and by using excessive violence during and after the arrest.
The capture was recorded by a video camera on the dashboard of a deputy's patrol car.
"There are some troubling things that see on the tape," Camden County Sheriff's Office Lt. William Terrell said. "Some punches and some kicks that clearly (are) excessive force."
Sheriff's officials told Channel 4's Victoria Warren that the two deputies brutalized the driver even after he appeared to be in custody.
"Once they had him out of the car and on the ground and it looked the struggle pretty much was over, it should have stopped there."
The nearly hour-long pursuit began after Crosby said he clocked Kirk Griffen Jr., 22, of Cary, N.C., going 94 mph on Interstate 95.
Deputies from three counties and the Georgia Highway Patrol eventually joined the chase, which ended 40 minutes later on Highway 82 in Brantley County.
Officials said speeds during the pursuit exceeded 120 mph on some two-lane roads. Terrell said that due to public safety concerns, the chase should not have happened.
According to police reports, deputies reported that Griffen rammed a Camden deputy's patrol car and attempted to hit two Brantley County deputies, which resulted in Griffen being charged with criminal attempt to commit murder, two counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer, criminal interference with government property and felony fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer.
Because the felony charges against Griffen occurred in either Glynn or Brantley counties, Camden County dropped all charges. It would be up to District Attorney Stephen Kelly whether any charges will be filed against Griffen based on offenses outside Camden County.
Police said copies of the internal investigation and termination letters will be forwarded to the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council for review.
The deputies have until Saturday to file appeals to their firing. Efforts to reach them for comment Friday were unsuccessful.
Camden County said they were investigating whether other deputies involved in the pursuit acted appropriately, but there was no decision on whether any additional disciplinary actions would be taken.
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