COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Last week, WRBL told you about issues at the Muscogee County Jail during the crime suppression detail July 15-17.
The Columbus Police detail was done in concert with the Georgia State Patrol. Muscogee County Sheriff Greg Countryman had asked Police Chief Freddie Blackmon and Mayor Skip Henderson to postpone those details because the jail was over capacity.
Now, WRBL has exclusive Columbus Police officer bodycam video obtained through the Georgia Open Records Act.
This video shows as many as a dozen police officers with suspects they had arrested waiting outside the Muscogee County Jail on the night of July 16 into the early morning hours of July 17.
One sheriff’s deputy lost his temper when a police car blocked his patrol vehicle in the sallyport.
Here’s what he said as he stormed past a line of police officers and prisoners:
“They won’t move the [expletive] car so I can get out. … I am busting y’all’s [expletive] [expletive] if I see any of you. I am telling you right now. I hope I don’t see you getting your [expletive] [expletive] whopped out on the [expletive] street. Because I am going to drive the [expletive] by. You can tell your [expletive] supervisor and anybody else. …”
WRBL talked to Countryman Monday afternoon. He says the deputy was reacting to an order by Columbus police to block his patrol vehicle inside the jail’s sallyport, a detainment area. Countryman said he was traveling and had not seen the bodycam video.
“The deputy ought not have done that, but the officer should have let him out,” Countryman said.
One Columbus police corporal was anticipating a confrontation moments before the deputy lost his cool.
Here’s how she handled the situation as she talked to the officers in the sallyport.
“Hey, your bodycam on? … Turn it on. Your bodycam on? Turn it on. Now. … Turn it on until it die. Body cam on? It’s on? Turn it on if it ain’t on. Put it on covert. … Let me tell you something.”
After making sure the bodycams were on, she issued this advice to her fellow officers.
“Listen to me. Don’t you guys say nothing. You take care of your prisoner. Take care of your inmate. And mind your business. Have no comment. All right? You are professionals. Don’t get into nothing. I don’t care what you see go in? Somebody square up, then you break it up. Maintain your prisoners.”
WRBL obtained video from 13 different bodycams as part of the Open Records Act request.
Once the deputy has his profanity-laced tirade inside the sallyport, he continued outside.
Eventually some suspects who were on the way to jail walked away with a principal summons, meaning instead of jail they just have to show up for a court date.
One suspect who was on his way to jail got a get out of jail free card on charges possession of crack cocaine and obstruction.
At times, those in custody looked confused and asked what was going on. Here was how the police officer explained it to him.
Officer: “Bossman, listen to me, OK? Due to some unexpected delays, you are going to be issued a principle summons arrest. Do you understand …”
Prisoner: “I know what them are. OK.”
During the three-day detail, Columbus police say that 45 people taken into custody. They released 19 on principal summons.
Countryman called what was happening delays because of jail staffing issues.
“We never refused to book in anybody,” he said. “That didn’t happen.”
Blackmon has declined to comment on the situation, saying that it is still under investigation.