A state agency is investigating what it dubbed “alleged misconduct” from Georgia police officers after homeowner security footage captured police using racial slurs and throwing the Ring camera that captured it. Although audio from the footage is a bit unclear, it appears to show an officer using the N-word. West Point police officers Donald Bramblett, Dylan Harmon, Zachary Heyboer, Sgt. William Osteen, and Detective Elizabeth Wegienka were put on administrative leave when the video posted by Tomesha James Madden went viral, Channel 2 Action News and The LaGrange Daily News reported.
The homeowner filed a complaint with the police department on Aug. 8, the day after the footage was captured while officers attempted to execute a search warrant. West Point is about 90 miles southeast of Atlanta. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) was asked to step in on Aug. 9, according to a news release from the agency. “The homeowner reported that while reviewing her security camera video and listening to the audio, she hears an officer use a racial slur, followed by him taking the Ring camera from the porch of the home and throwing it in the bushes,” the GBI said in its release.
The agency continued:
The GBI has received a copy of several videos from the incident location showing officers attempt to contact someone at the home for a lengthy period by knocking on the door and announcing their presence over a Public Address (PA) speaker. After no one came to the door, the decision was made to not make entry and to leave the home. Before leaving, a West Point Police officer took the Ring camera from the front porch of the home and tossed it across the yard into bushes. After tossing the Ring camera, an officer can be heard telling another officer something; however, the audio is unintelligible.
The GBI will conduct an independent investigation. Once the investigation is completed, the case file will be given to the Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office for review.
The teenager who officers were at the home to arrest, Justin Vance Hines, is accused of obstruction, theft by receiving, and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, the state agency reported.
“It’s Miss Madden’s understanding that the police were there looking for her son,” Wendell Major, the attorney representing the family, told Channel 2. “When she learned of that, she turned him in to the police department, or the sheriff’s office.”
Warning: This video contains footage of police using a racial slur that may be triggering to viewers.
Major said in an interview with the Daily News: “The video is self-explanatory. It depicts some very vile and disgusting comments. But, we will allow the West Point Police Department to do a thorough investigation to determine what’s the appropriate response to such by them. And we will deal with that response.”
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