Georgia Police Allegedly Caught On Video Threatening To 'Cane,' 'Tase' And 'Kill'


Deputies Under Fire For Alleged Forceful Entry Without Search Warrant


Social media is filled with photos, videos and posts of workers' wrong-doing. Still, when a video was posted to YouTube on July 30 apparently showing a group of Georgia law officers threatening to "kill" and "tase" a terrified family, it was so stunning that it went viral -- and prompted the local authorities to announce an internal investigation.

According to CBS Atlanta, it all began late in the evening of Friday, June 26, when a group of eight officers from DeKalb County in Georgia reportedly appeared at Natania Griffin's house at 1:30 a.m., and threatened to break inside while banging on the door with the gusto of actual intruders.

Griffin's 23-year-old son Donovan Hall whipped out his cellphone and videotaped the incident, later posting the 19 minutes of footage to YouTube. On the video, men can be heard making statements like, "I am going to kill you," "I am going to tase your a**," and, ""I wish I could cane both of y'all" when the family resisted the men. Griffin can be heard breaking into hysterics while shrieking, "If I'm dead in the morning, you'll know why. Do not trust DeKalb County police."

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office has not denied the video's authenticity and has conceded to CBS Atlanta that the officers used "inappropriate language," as the local outlet put it. The county also maintains that no excessive force was used in trying to arrest Griffin for not paying a $1,000 civil fine that was 15 days late. (Reports did not mention the reason for the fine.) The county also says that it had a warrant for her arrest. Griffin and her family are planning to press charges and are currently seeking legal representation.

After calling 911, Griffin and her family eventually agreed to allow the officers to enter their house. Once the law officers were inside the home, both parties calmed down before the officers lectured the family on resisting their entry. "You put everyone's safety in jeopardy 'cause you want to play games, and big boy wanted to make a make a videotape," one officer can allegedly be heard saying on the video.


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The video -- which now has more than 300,000 page views -- has mostly attracted sympathy for the family since Hall posted it. YouTube user Emily Eason, for instance, noted that "these cops are embarrassing themselves ... by antagonizing and terrifying a well educated, peaceful family." Some commenters, however, have questioned the behavior of the family, like Solomon 29710, who wrote, "Isn't the obvious solution to this problem to simply open the door?"

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office has told The Huffington Post it has launched an internal investigation in the matter. And in speaking to the news site (part of the AOL media group), Sheriff Thomas Brown said that he was personally "disgusted" by the comments made by his officers, but added, "we did not hit anybody with a pistol. ... [w]e did not place our foot on anybody's head for no apparent reason.

Police misconduct has been a source of public interest well before smart phones, most famously on the hit television show, "Cops." And according to the Cato Institute's National Police Misconduct Reporting Project, there were 4,861 reports of misconduct during the 2010 calendar year. But as former Texas police captain and law enforcement commentator Catherine Smit-Torrez told AOL Jobs, "it makes all police officers look bad when even one of us loses it."

Indeed, Hall told the Huffington Post that he shared the video on the Web in the hope of trying to attract public support for his family so that they can press charges. He said that they currently can't afford legal representation and are hoping for pro bono help.

Griffin, for her part, claims that she never was read her Miranda rights. She's also since paid off the $1,000 fine, according to The Huffington Post.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to DeKalb County as located in Florida, not Georgia.
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Dan Fastenberg

Dan Fastenberg

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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.

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@conspiro

Georgia,oh Georgia...
Dekalb County Sheriffs,time has come,the race of the cops may have changed,but
the terror and heartlessness of the terrorist approach is the same...
conspiro.org/
Posting this on here...
Has the south changed,or just hired new @$$holes of a different race??

March 25 2014 at 2:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fordgarye

Why did the Police feel the need to have what amounts to a swat team push into the houseover an unpaid fine?
Unless they had a search warrant or reasonable suspicion, no one had to let them in. The arrest warrent could have been served earlier, not at 1:30 AM - I'm fairly sure the woman wasn't on the run. What has happened is that law enforcementg agencies have decided being tough and stupid at tghe same time is the way to go -

August 18 2013 at 8:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lorickmiller

What a bunch of maroons. The Sheriff is an elected official and answers to NO ONE. The Governor and/or State Attorney General may have something to say about this if a law has been broken, but the Sheriff and his Deputies are blessed by the popular vote in that county. Good luck, y'all.

August 18 2013 at 1:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bspennati

If they would have done that at my house they would have been shot before they came through the door

August 17 2013 at 6:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alkinai

they all should get fired! another reason why citizens should be able to decide the fate of these kind of cops careers, i think it would also help get rid of the criminal cops to

August 14 2013 at 3:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jayjan49

So big deal, he was late paying his fine??? That gives the police the right to taze and kill??? Anyone responsible for their actions should be fired!!

August 14 2013 at 3:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
fazev764

This is the most outrageous misuse of sheriffs personnel and for that matter for any police force. Considering how much violent crime, thefts, drugs and robberies that occur around this country these Days. Unless this woman was considered beforehand violent, suicidal, armed and dangerous it doesn't take 8 personnel to to arrest someone 15 days late on a civil fine. 15 days, I mean really I've seen people 6 months to several years late on traffic violations and people with arrest warrants that didn't take 8 officers to pick them up!

In this day an age when people are using fake id's and uniforms claiming to be the police while committing crimes such as a home invasion! I don't blame this family one bit for not opening the door at that time of the morning with that kind of vocalization of threats going on. I'd be very leery even after calling the sheriffs department to verify the legitimacy of them being there pounding on the door at 1:30 am. Yes this lady was wrong in being late in paying her fine but that doesn't excuse the Sheriff Departments bad judgement in the way they're personnel handled themselves. Who's in charge of this Sheriffs Department? The 3 Stooges!

I sincerely hope that this doesn't get swept under the carpet!

August 14 2013 at 3:21 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
cherri1955

And none of this would have happened if the fine had been paid by this well educated upstanding citizen.

August 14 2013 at 3:00 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cherri1955's comment
arvy05

It was a fine! Since when do police search out people who don't pay civil fines. It could have been for something as petty as an overdue parking ticket. In some jurisdictions, unpaid civil fines are issued warrants. If the person is stopped, they are arrested, not hunted like they are violent criminals in the middle of the night. This is not how you deal with fines. Suspend their license, revoke their registration, boot their car, send to collections, don't threaten to kill their family at 1:30 in the morning.

August 14 2013 at 3:15 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
proteus12544

Its very unusual for the police to serve a CIVIL warrant in the middle of the night. Heads are going to roll and rightfully so. However this had to come from a judge who issued the warrant and most warrants are written to be served either during the day or during the night and cannot be served outside of that time frame.(at least it is that way in PA and I imagine its the same in GA but I could be wrong) So which judge signed a night warrant for a 1000 civil fine? This should be dealt with from the top down.

August 14 2013 at 3:00 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jerry ueltzen

the gang in blue, i feel so safe.

August 14 2013 at 2:45 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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