• Family to sue DeKalb County for $10 million over recruit death

    By: Erica Byfield

    Updated:

    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - The family of a dead jail recruit believes Channel 2 Action News exposed a "cover-up."
     

    An attorney representing the family sent a letter to DeKalb officials letting them know they may sue and seek $10 million in damages.
     
    The letter served as an ante litem notice.
     
    By law, the notice is required if someone is considering suing a government. George Ward died in 2013.
     
    The notice says DeKalb County Sheriff's Office employees purposely tried to keep Ward's family from knowing what really happened before he died.
     
    "What responsibility are they going to take for killing him, because that's what they did. They killed him," said Ward's mother, Lorraine Fredericks.
     
    Footage shows her son struggling to keep up and forced to wear pink.
     
    "My son was humiliated right before he died?" she asked.
     
    Our Channel 2 Action News investigation found his mother was not the only one in the dark. DeKalb's chief medical examiner said he had never seen it.
     
    Once he did late last year, he changed Ward's cause and manner of death.
     
    Channel 2 Action News obtained the video from the sheriff's office through an open records request.
     
    In November, Sheriff Jeffery Mann refused to say why his office never released it or investigated what happened to Ward.
     
    "This man needed help and he wasn't given help he was given the opposite they had every reason to cover it up because what they did is just wrong," said Charles Cauble, Frederick's attorney. "The facts were misrepresented to her. That wasn't fair to her and won’t be fair to any parent that is dealing with and grieving the loss of a child."
     
    A spokesperson from DeKalb County told Channel 2 Action News the county does not comment on pending litigation. 
     
    The GBI investigated Ward's death and gave their findings to the county's District Attorney's Office.
     
    The case remains open in the DA's Office.


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