On Friday, nine sheriff’s deputies were fired after an internal review and probe of the New Year’s Day death of a college student who died in police custody.
The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office announced its decision after both an internal review and a probe by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation after 22-year-old Matthew Ajibade was found unresponsive after being placed in an isolation cell. The findings of the probe and review were turned over to the country prosecutor, who is weighing criminal charges.
Ajibade, who local clergymembers said suffered from bipolar disorder, had been placed in jail and charged with domestic violence, battery and resisting arrest. He was allegedly handcuffed to a chair and was tasered by officers restraining him.
Although the sheriff’s office declined to release its report until the prosecutor finishes investigating or until a court declares the records to be public, the office did note that it had made changes in the aftermath of the incident. Specifically, the office had updated its policy to include “clear written policy of when tasers may not be used.”
Chatham County Sheriff Al St Lawrence said in a statement that he “deeply regrets the death of Mr. Ajibade.”
The announcement comes in a climate of heated debate as the public more closely examines policy brutality and the relationship between police and the communities they serve and protect.