HALL COUNTY, Ga. — A metro Atlanta sheriff has issued a response to a federal lawsuit that a former inmate recently filed.
Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch asked the community to consider both sides of the story regarding a lawsuit filed by former inmate Dewon Greer, who was arrested in 2021 and injured during the booking process.
Channel 2 Action News broke this story last year after a video captured Hall County deputies dropping Dewon Greer on his head while he was handcuffed, leaving him permanently scarred.
Greer has now filed a federal lawsuit against the Hall County Sheriff’s Office and told Channel 2 Action News he just wants accountability.
“I just don’t want this to happen to anybody else, so that’s why I’m here today to try to prevent this same thing from happening because it could come out a whole different way than it came out for me,” Greer told Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes outside of the federal courthouse this week.
Couch claims that the bodycam video released by Greer’s legal team is not telling the full story.
“The edited footage made public by Mr. Greer and his attorneys does not tell the entire story. I made the decision to release the entire unedited video in order to be totally transparent and accountable to the public I serve,” Couch said. “The complete video shows this was an unintentional incident that could have easily been prevented had Mr. Greer simply complied with the officers’ instructions.”
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A Georgia State Patrol trooper pulled Greer over for an issue with his tail light as he and his wife were headed to Lake Lanier to take their boat out on Sept. 17, 2021.
To Greer’s surprise, his license was suspended.
“I’m like, ‘Why is my license suspended?’ and they said, ‘child support,’” Greer told Channel 2 Action News in 2022. “And I know that was already paid, and I had my child support papers with me. I am not doing anything. I am not a threat.”
Greer said troopers wouldn’t even look at the paperwork even though he offered to get it and took him to jail.
“The arresting trooper requested assistance removing Mr. Greer from his patrol car upon arriving at the jail because Mr. Greer was being extremely belligerent,” Couch said.
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In bodycam video released by the sheriff’s office, Greer is seen inside a GSP patrol car surrounded by deputies as they work to drag him out of the vehicle.
“During the booking process, Mr. Greer did sustain an injury; however, none of the jailers involved had any ill-will or any intent to cause an injury,” Couch said. “Mr. Greer failed to follow lawful commands to get on his knees so his handcuffs could be safely removed.”
In the video, Greer tells the jailers that he does not want to get on both knees when commanded inside the holding cell.
After failing to follow the command, one of the jailers grabs Greer’s right leg and pulls, causing Greer to fall onto the cell floor, landing on his face.
“I thought you had his shoulder,” one of the jailers says after Greer hits the ground.
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“Since he failed to comply, the jailers were trying to place Mr. Greer in a prone position to remove his handcuffs. During this process, Mr. Greer fell forward, causing a laceration his left eye,” Couch said.
According to officials, medical staff at the jail attempted to treat Greer’s injury.
Couch added that Greer made racial insults towards the arresting troopers and repeatedly told the jailers that he hoped they would die and their families would die.
The investigation determined that Greer’s driver’s license was suspended by mistake and that he was all paid up on his child support, so the arrest was a big misunderstanding.
“While this is an unfortunate incident, it was not an egregious assault on an inmate, as some in our own community have alleged,” Couch said. “I urge the public to watch the unedited video here to address any issues or concerns they might have.”
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