AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Four members of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office are on administrative leave following a tasing incident in Augusta. Inv. Richard Russell, Deputy Leslie Gaiter, Deputy Parker Leathers and Deputy Christopher Brown were placed on leave Friday. It came four days after an altercation with 24-year-old Jermaine Jones, Jr.
According to an incident report, Deputy Brown pulled over Jones, his father and uncle due to an issue with the tags on the car they were driving in. Brown asked Jones’ uncle, Willie Baker, who was driving the car, if he could search the vehicle. Baker consented, and a canine partner performed an “open air search and alerted to the odor of narcotics in the vehicle.” All three men then exited the car.
Deputy Brown discovered a gun and “glass crack pipe under the passenger seat.” Jones, who was on parole, then tried to run away. The report details that “Inv. Russell then deployed his taser, striking Jones in the back and causing him to fall on the ground. After a brief struggle Jones was taken into custody.”
While transporting Jones to the Charles B. Webster Detention Center, deputies say he experienced a “medical emergency.” They rerouted and took him to the hospital.
Medical documents provided to NewsChannel 6 by Jones’ family reveal he suffered from bruises to the brain and significant bleeding inside the brain. A doctor told Jones’ family those injuries were not consistent with being tased.
“The only marks he had were in his head,” Keyana Gaines, Jones’ mother, said.
Jones was placed in a medically-induced coma Wednesday and declared brain dead Thursday. He was taken off life support Monday.
Jones’ family is seeking answers about how he sustained his head and brain injuries. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) and Richmond County Coroner’s Office are investigating. A GBI spokesperson told NewsChannel 6 there were no new updates to the case as of Tuesday. An autopsy is scheduled at the GBI lab.
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office has not released dash camera or body camera footage.
“From the time they put him in handcuffs to the time he was supposed to be transported to Phinizy Road (jail), something happened to my child,” Jermain Jones, Sr., said.
“I don’t have faith,” Gaines added. “I don’t trust the system.”
Jones’ family says they would like him to be remembered as a “gentle soul,” as well as a “great father and son.” They plan on organizing a walk in his honor later this month.