DeKalb sheriff 'appalled' by language on video - FOX 35 News Orlando

DeKalb sheriff 'appalled' by language on video

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -

DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown says he's appalled by what he's heard on a video of an arrest by several of his officers. He's disciplined four of them for what they said during that confrontation.

Brown admitted that the video, which went viral after being posted online, has put his department on the defensive.

Officers had gone to the Ellenwood home in the middle of the night on July 26 to serve a warrant against a woman there who hadn't paid a thousand dollar court bill. The people inside refused to open the door.

"I will tell you that I was appalled by what I heard," Brown said.  "It is not what I expect from my deputies when we are serving civil, non-violent warrants."

Sheriff Brown has demoted the incident commander, who he says should have taken a deep breath and known they weren't after a violent offender. But he says their aggressive entry was justified because the family's refusal to open the door raised reasonable suspicion.

"What should have happened is what happened with the exception of the verbal abuse that took place afterwards," Brown said.

Donovan Hall called 911 from inside the home and shot the video.  He rejects the sheriff's claim that the abuse was only verbal.

"Once I was handcuffed, officers were kicking and punching and one officer even stood on top of my head with both feet," Hall said.

Hall's mother, Natania Griffin, says the family is not satisfied with the demotion and brief suspensions that the sheriff handed down.

"We will not be satisfied unto all the officers involved in this matter are fired and are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Griffin said.

The sheriff insists that there's plenty of blame to go around.

"If the police come to your house and need to come in -- whether you agree or not that they need to come into that home -- you need to open the door," Brown said.

This incident happened around 1 a.m. Brown says he's changing policy so that civil warrants won't be executed after 11:30 p.m.

The department will also do criminal background checks ahead of time so they know whether to expect violence.

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