City suspends jail sentence for sanitation worker who picked up too early

Garbage man says he was jailed for getting to work too early

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — UPDATE: The city of Sandy Springs has suspended the jail sentence for sanitation worker Kevin McGill. The city posted the following statement:

"There are times when taking a step back provides the opportunity for better perspective. In retrospect, the actions of the court with regards to Mr. McGill’s sentence for violating the city’s noise laws, was disproportionate to a first-time offense. As such, the court has amended its sentence to time served and further probation suspended.

City ordinances are implemented for the protection of quality of life within a community. The adherence to these laws is important, and the City is obligated to enforce these laws, which includes imposing sanctions against those individuals who break the law."

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A sanitation worker says he was thrown in jail for picking up trash too early in the morning.

The city of Sandy Springs says he violated an ordinance aimed at keeping workers from waking up residents.

The city solicitor says he's tried everything to get sanitation workers to stop coming to communities before 7 a.m. He says he’s tried fining the companies they work for, but it doesn't work; so now he's decided to haul them off to jail.

“The solicitor said it's automatic jail time. He didn't want to hear nothing I had to say. I said it's my first time,” sanitation worker Kevin McGill told Channel 2’s Tom Jones.

The Sandy Springs ordinance says sanitation workers must haul trash between the hours of 7 in the morning to 7 in the evening.

McGill was cited for picking up trash just after 5 a.m. one morning. When he went to court, chief prosecutor Bill Riley asked the judge to sentence him to 30 days in jail.

“I was stunned. I didn't know what to think. I was shocked,” McGill said.

Riley doesn't apologize for locking up sanitation workers.

“Fines don't seem to work,” Riley said. "The only thing that seems to stop the activity is actually going to jail.”

Riley says 911 lights up when trash haulers come before 7 a.m.

McGill, who didn't have an attorney with him when he was sentenced, is serving his time on the weekend. His new attorney wonders why he's being punished.

“Give him a warning,” attorney Kimberly Bandoh said. “I mean he's the employee. He's not the employer. Sentencing him to jail is doing what?”

But Riley says he is responsible for his own truck.

“The company doesn't start that truck up. The company doesn't drive that truck down the street,” Riley said.

McGill says he had only been hauling in Sandy Springs three months. He says it was hard being in jail with real criminals.

"I just want this to be over with,” he said. “I'm away from my family, my wife, and she’s got to take care of the two little boys and I have four dogs."

McGill will serve the next 14 weekends in jail. His new attorney has filed a motion to withdraw his plea.

Stay with Channel 2 Action News for updates on this story.