AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — The parents of Jermaine Jones, Jr. have now seen some of the body camera footage captured the day their son was tased while being arrested by Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies. The spoke exclusively with NewsChannel 6 after watching the footage. According to Keyanna Gaines, Jones’ mother, she was shown two of eight videos. The remaining videos are still being reviewed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).
“Seeing our child’s last moments is the worst part,” Gaines said.
Gaines and Jones’ father, Jermain Jones, Sr., say the videos they saw may not tell the full story.
“It’s still not showing me what happened to my son,” Gaines said. “Yes, they showed him being tased. But, it’s not showing the injuries my son got from the tasing. It’s not adding up.”
“I’m trying to be patient, but how much longer do we have to wait?”
According to Gaines and Jones, the GBI will allow them to see the remaining footage when the invetsigation is completed in a few weeks.
“We want to see the other footage,” Ray Montana, the founder of CSRA Street Justice Council, said. “We want the GBI agents and district attorney to be transparent when it comes to this case because this case affects this family and our community.”
Gaines says her family has not received Jones’ autopsy results yet as they are part of the GBI’s investigation. She says Jones’ death certificate reads “pending investigation.”
Deputies under investigation
Jones was tased after he ran from Richmond County deputies during a traffic stop in October. Inv. Richard Russell, Deputy Leslie Gaiter, Deputy Parker Leathers and Deputy Christopher Brown were placed on administrative leave following the incident. They returned to duty less than two weeks later. NewsChannel 6 asked the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) why they returned to duty before the GBI’s investigation was completed. RCSO did not comment.
Gaines says RCSO never told her the deputies were returning to their roles.
“It was a slap in the face,” she said.
Gaines was informed by NewsChannel 6 that the deputies were taken off administrative leave.
According to the GBI, Inv. Richard Russell deployed the stun gun which tased Jones.
Personnel files obtained by NewsChannel 6 show Russell has been written up for at least eight violations since he was hired by RCSO. In January 2021, he pulled over an older woman for allegedly not driving in her lane. Russell arrested her after, he said, she did not obey his commands. She previously told him she had trouble hearing. A supervisor recommended Russell complete 16 hours of online de-escalation courses, saying he needed to “learn how to De-escalate things to his advantage.”
In May 2017, Russell was cited for being “involved in a heated discussion with several supervisors with the Columbia County Fire Department.” This, after he entered a firehouse with his personal firearm while wearing his sheriff’s office uniform.
Meanwhile, Gaines and Jones say they want to see video of Deputy Gaiter’s involvement in Jermaine’s arrest.
“Gaiter was punching him,” Jermain Jones, Sr., who was at the traffic stop, said.
“Officer Gaiter was on top of him,” Gaines added. “But, you’re not seeing Officer Gaiter’s camera footage while he’s on top of my son.”
According to RCSO documents, Gaiter was written up for “unsatisfactory performance” in November 2016. He reportedly got into a confrontation with an eventual arrestee who “was backing away” as “instructed.” A supervisor told Gaitor,”you cannot allow your personal feelings or anger at the actions of someone on the sidelines dictate how you perform your investigation.”
Jones’ parents say they will not let their son be another name in a report. They are waiting for the GBI to finish its investgiation. If the agency finds any wrongdoing, the case will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office.
In the meantime, Jones’ family says they hope to speak with District Attorney Jared Williams and Sheriff Richard Roundtree. They tell NewsChannel 6 they have not ruled out taking legal action against the RCSO.
“We’re not sleeping on this one,” Jones said. “We’re going to get justice.”
“We’re going to stand up and protest,” Montana added. “We’re going to make some noise.”
“They’re going to hear his name until the day I die because he can’t fight,” Gaines said. “They took a precious child. He was precious to us. No mother should have to lose her child, especially by people who are sworn to serve and protect.”