SAVANNAH, GA (August 12, 2020) – Two SPD officers have been terminated after an investigation into their actions during a warrant service.
In April, the officers notified their supervisor that a use of force incident had taken place while attempting to locate a wanted subject at a Savannah apartment complex. SPD supervisors are required by policy to review all use of force response to resistance reports as well as any associated body camera footage. Because of the pre-notification of the incident, the supervisor was able to immediately review the video and report. Upon review, the supervisor notified Internal Affairs of potential policy violations. The Internal Affairs Division launched an investigation into the incident and determined the officers violated multiple department policies. Both officers were placed on administrative leave throughout the investigation process.
In late July at the conclusion of the Internal Affairs investigation, Chief Roy Minter terminated the officers for conduct unbecoming of an officer in addition to other policy violations. Both officers appealed the decision to the City Manager, who chose to uphold the chief’s termination decision. The officers were officially separated from the department on July 30.
In addition to the investigation, on Aug. 7 Chief Roy Minter presented the body camera footage and additional information on the investigation to Mayor Van R. Johnson, II’s Savannah CARES taskforce, which was created by Mayor Johnson to review current use of force policies and internal affairs data in SPD.
“It is our duty and mission to serve, protect and build trust with the community,” Chief Minter said. “The actions of these officers were not in line with our mission and were a direct violation of our existing policies. Since the termination became official, I have reminded SPD officers that they have committed themselves to serving this city and will treat everyone they encounter with the respect and courtesy they would want in return. They have also been reminded that they have a duty to report any policy violations or concerning behavior they witness to a supervisor immediately. We have worked hard to build a rapport with our community and want to strengthen that trust.”
Today District Attorney of the Eastern Circuit Meg Heap held a news conference at the Chatham County Courthouse announcing an update in the investigation. The case file has been handed over to the District Attorney’s Office for review. Any additional questions on the investigation or case should be directed to the District Attorney’s Office.