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Report details use of force incident

Jailer held Taser to inmate’s face

POSTED: August 20, 2014 4:00 a.m.

Personnel documents released by the Dawson County Sheriff's Office detail the use-of-force incident that resulted in the firing of a jail sergeant earlier this month.

According to the report, Sgt. Shane Jenkins violated department policy June 9 when he pointed a Taser at an inmate's face during a verbal altercation and later punched the inmate in the back of his head several times while the man was forcibly pinned to the ground.

"The case file revealed that the force employed was excessive, which was confirmed through witness accounts and self-admission," the file read.

Jenkins' termination was effective Monday. He had been on paid administrative leave since June 23 pending the outcome of a criminal probe by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle described the incident as a verbal altercation between the two that escalated and ended with the inmate being treated for a black eye and lacerations to the face.

"From my understanding, the inmate was in the booking area and the two had words, and that's when Jenkins held the Taser to his neck, which is a direct violation of our departmental policy," he said, adding that Jenkins did not fire it.

According to Carlisle, officers know that Taser probes to areas such as the face, neck, chest and groin can cause serious injury.

"They are trained to aim areas at areas such as the back or legs," he said.

Once the inmate was taken to a holding cell, the argument continued, Carlisle explained.

"Afterwards, he was taken into a cell and his handcuffs and leg irons were taken off," the sheriff said. "Then as Jenkins starts to walk out of the cell, the inmate lunges toward him from behind.

"That was when Jenkins turns around and punches him in the face and knocked him down."

The initial punch would have been justified, according to Carlisle.

"But then after he knocked him to the floor, Jenkins gets on his back and started punching him in the back of the head," he said. "That to me was criminal, and that's why I knew I needed to hand the case over to GBI to let them conduct the investigation."

Carlisle said GBI turned its findings over to the district attorney, who will determine if criminal charges are warranted.

As of Monday, District Attorney Lee Darragh said the case remained under review.

 

 

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