According to these personnel files, Former Richmond County Deputy Brian McDuffie started working for the Richmond County Sheriff's Office in 2008. He resigned in 2011, but then he was re-hired in 2012. After reviewing his personnel file, we are asking questions about why the sheriff's office would re-hire a deputy who made mistakes in the past.
According to McDuffie's termination letter, Sheriff Richard Roundtree found that striking a 15-year-old boy with a flashlight was unjustifiable and that there were other ways to secure the boy without hitting him.
"One of the deputies tackled him and was attempting to secure him in handcuffs, but at the point where McDuffie got involved, and he used the kind of force he did, that was excessive," Chief Deputy Patrick Clayton says.
We checked into McDuffie's past as a deputy. We found that he was suspended for two days in 2009. The suspension came after McDuffie's patrol car was stolen by a female suspect. A report states that McDuffie put the suspect in the back seat and left the vehicle running. The suspect got free, crawled through the partition, and took off in his car.
"I would say it's a serious offense, but I think you have to look at every one of these case by case. But I will tell you in this particular instance, he had already been hired before we got here and it wasn't something we really took into consideration," Clayton says.
And Clayton is right. McDuffie was re-hired under Sheriff Ronnie Strength's administration. Clayton says Roundtree's administration is doing its best to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.
"One of the things we always look at is, usually a good future performance is good past performance," Clayton says.
And according to evaluations from the past, supervisors found McDuffie's performance to be unsatisfactory. And even on the night of the excessive force incident, supervisors found that McDuffie left his baton at home.
"It's a situation where we are duty bound to investigate all of the complaints that are made and that we are going to act. We feel that it is necessary," says Clayton.
So far this year, there have been 12 excessive force complaints, two of which have lead to deputies being fired.
Once a deputy is fired, they have 10 days to appeal the termination.
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