Richmond County Sheriff Roundtree holds press conference regarding officer incident


UPDATE: AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta District Attorney Natalie Paine has announced that she believes this incident requires further review.

“After being apprised and learning details of the February 7, 2020 incident involving two Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputies, I have determined that further review of the incident is warranted. Accordingly, pursuant to O.C.G.A. 15-12-71(b)(5), it is my intent to present this matter to the Grand Jury for its complete and full review. After the presentation, the Grand Jury will have the opportunity to make any findings of fact and provide any recommendations it may have whether criminal charges should or should not be filed.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference Tuesday morning in response to the death of 17-year-old De’Angelo Burns and an incident that took place involving Deputy Brandon Keathley and Deputy Nicholas Nunes.

MORE: Internal investigation launched in death of teen, neighbors report shootings often

Burns was shot Friday at a home on Abelia drive, then taken to the Circle K on Peach Orchard Road where he died.

Sheriff Richard Roundtree states that Deputy Keathley and his trainee were the first to arrive to the scene, finding the victim in the front passenger seat of a vehicle.

(Left: Keathley. Right: Nunes)
(Left: Keathley. Right: Nunes)

The Deputy and trainee then removed Burns from the vehicle and attempted to administer first aid. This is when Sheriff Roundtree states Deputy Nunes approached and attempted to take over the situation.

Sheriff Roundtree states that Deputy Keathley asked Deputy Nunes to step back, as they were still assessing the victim’s injuries. Deputy Nunes then reportedly shoved Deputy Keathley away. Keathley then reportedly struck Nunes in the back of the head with the tip of his stinger flashlight.

Another deputy arrived on scene and removed Deputy Nunes from the area while others continued to administer aid to Burns.

“The behavior of the two experienced deputies was embarrassing and highly inappropriate,” said Sheriff Roundtree. “It was noted that there were multiple lapses in judgement.”

Sheriff Roudntree added the internal conflict did not interrupt the victim’s care as it was all before CPR started.

“I know both had the desire to try to aid the victim, but our protocol is once aid is being administered then that person proceeds to it unless he ask for assistance,” the Sheriff said.

An internal probe on how the incident was handled was launched.

Deputy Keathley was placed on administrative duties through the weekend and the Sheriff said Deputy Nunes’ injuries were treated

Deputy Keathley has been suspended for 30 days without pay and with counselling. Deputy Nunes has received a written reprimand. He is expected to return to work this week.

The Sheriff also said, “I hope it shows that we are going to be transparent, that we are going to hold our deputies accountable. This was embarrassing not just to the deputies, but to the agency.”

The Sheriff said he would not address the current investigation into how Burns died. At this time, there is no word on what prompted the chain of events leading to the teen’s death or if there is a suspect.

Count on NewsChannel 6 for more details as they become available.

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