A video that has gone viral on popular website WorldStarHipHop.com has landed some Dekalb County Sheriff’s deputies in hot water.
The video appears to show hostile officers banging loudly on a door at the wrong house for nearly an hour before being let inside where they verbally and physically assault the young men. But according to a Dekalb County Sheriff’s Department spokesman, the recording is more hype than truth.
“At no time were we at the wrong address,” Dekalb County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lieutenant Kyle K. Jones told the Daily World. “That’s just more sensationalism for the video. They had a valid arrest warrant for the female occupant of the residence. At no time did we announce that we wanted any other address than the address that we were at.”
Donavan Hall and his younger brother shot the 20-minute edited video, which was uploaded on Thursday and is said to have taken place July 26, 2013, on their cell phones. The video appears to show deputies outside the family’s Ellenwood home starting at around 1:30 a.m. Once they are let inside, the officers are heard using profane language and threatening to use a taser on occupants of the home on several different occasions.
The deputies seen in the video are still on active duty, according to Jones, but they will be disciplined accordingly at the conclusion of an investigation, he said.
“We don’t train our deputies to conduct themselves like that,” Jones told the Daily World. “The verbal abuse, we don’t condone that. And that’s gonna be dealt with.”
In an earlier interview with WSB, Hall said that the deputies loud banging woke up the family and when they finally opened the door the deputies charged in and abused them.
“Once I get back here I’m like ‘Please stop,’ the officer’s gun butts me in the face and then I fall backwards,” Hall said.
Jones said the occupants of the house were throwing things back and forth and moving quickly. While he maintains the deputies were at the right place and had every right to be at the house, he says the language used on the video, including the threats by deputies to use a Taser on the occupants, was unacceptable.
“As for the claims of physical abuse by the deputies I can’t see any physical abuse on the tape…so I can’t speak to that ’til the conclusion of the investigation,” Jones said. “But what is clear, and we can agree on that, is there was verbal abuse and that’s gonna be dealt with, along with whatever other policy violation comes out of the investigation.”
Dekalb County Sheriff Tom Brown also responded to the video, telling the AJC that he understood why his deputies were frustrated, but that their actions were still not justified.
“I’m sure the officers were teed off because the family kept them outside for a (half) hour and told them they had the wrong address,” said Brown, who is considering running for Congress. “But the behavior of my officers was totally unacceptable and it will not be tolerated. It will be addressed and addressed very quickly.”
See the video below:
(Photo: Dekalb County Sheriff Tom Brown with former Dekalb CEO Burrell Ellis)