Imagine waking up to a loud banging on your front door and flood lights pouring in through your windows. That's what a family in Georgia experienced late last month when DeKalb County Sheriff's Office deputies showed up at their door with an arrest warrant for an unpaid fee.
According to WSBTV-TV, the incident occurred July 26 in Ellenwood, Georgia, at the home where Donovan Hall, his brother and sister, and his mother, Natania Griffin, lived. The description of a video taken by Hall's phone uploaded to YouTube states that the family was awoken at 1:30 a.m. by the banging and were frightened.
" [...] so I walked into the guest room that looks over the front of our house and was shocked when I saw three large Dekalb County Sheriff SUV's with large flood lights pointed at our house and windows," the description read.
The videos shows the perspective of someone standing at the top of the stairs filming down toward the front door as a bright light shines inside and yelling of orders and banging can be heard.
Sheriffs at the front door. (Image: YouTube screenshot)
Worried about opening the door, Hall called the police, at the suggestion of the deputies at the door, explained the situation and asked that the captain be sent out so "we would not be harmed when we open the door." The operator supposedly agreed but no additional police came.
That's when video footage shows the mother and son going downstairs, finally getting ready to open the door. Before opening it, the mother said if she's dead by morning, this is why. She states that she believes this is in retaliation for a prior incident under investigation, in which she mentions getting broken fingers from officers.
Eventually, the door is opened and the police funnel inside, yelling at the people to get on the ground. At points in the video there is low lighting or no footage visible at all. It is also edited to an extent, which means some content might not have been included in the YouTube version.
DeKalb deputies entering the house. (Image: YouTube screenshot)
After some of the commotion seems to calm down, one of the officers can be heard saying Hall has "an attitude problem."
"We treat you like you act," the officer said. "You acted like a 2-year-old, so we treated you like a 2-year-old."
"Do you think this got a bit out of hand by you not answering that damn door?" the officer said later.
"I will be hurt if you don't go to jail," the officer said to the man saying it would be for hindering a law enforcement officer.
And later he said Hall "put everybody's safety in jeopardy because you want to play games and big boy over here wanted to damn video tape. He added, "I wish we could cane both of you all, though."
Watch the nearly 20 minutes of footage in what the video title calls "police brutality" (Content warning: strong language):
The officers did have a civil warrant for Griffin's arrest stemming from a $1,000 fee that was overdue on payment.
The description on the YouTube video states that the house was illegally searched and that items were missing from Griffin's purse.
"Fifteen (days) overdue, why would you come to my house with this unbelievable show of
force?" Griffin asked WSBTV, which noted she has since paid the fee.
"When they would not establish to what they
wanted, we believed that they were at the wrong house because we would never think they would come arrest me for a civil fee," Griffin continued.
The deputies are now under investigation for their actions. WSBTV reported Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Jeffery Mann admitting that the "language that was used was unprofessional and I suspect there will be some disciplinary action."
Watch WSBTV's report:
WGCL-TV reported the department saying there was not excessive force in the video though.
(H/T: Blaze reader Anthony N.)