Home News Tasers ineffective, 4 officers injured after football player attacks police in Georgia

Tasers ineffective, 4 officers injured after football player attacks police in Georgia

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Oct. 17–MOULTON — A former Speake football star injured four law enforcement officers in a standoff Sunday, authorities said.

Moulton police Chief Lyndon McWhorter said the suspect, Demetrae Griffin, of Moulton, was tased “multiple times” during the two-hour standoff.

Three of the four officers were taken to Lawrence County Medical Center, with one, Sgt. Ashley Bolden, requiring staples in his head, McWhorter said.

The other two officers treated at the Lawrence County Medical Center emergency room were police officer Shane Burkett and sheriff’s deputy Keith Pepper, McWhorter said. He said officer Marcus Solomon was injured but did not require hospital treatment.

The suspect, who authorities said threw a rock through the window of an unoccupied deputy’s vehicle, was transported to Decatur Morgan Hospital.

No charges had been filed late Sunday.

The State Bureau of Investigation will investigate, McWhorter said.

Lawrence Sheriff’s Office Capt. Tim McWhorter said he believes an argument between the suspect and his mother started the incident.

“The suspect is believed to have gotten out of her car on Highway 157 and started walking toward Byler Road.” He said the suspect caused a disturbance near the Urgent Care Center on Alabama 157 and a call was made to 911.

When police officers arrived, Moulton police Chief Lyndon McWhorter said, the suspect assaulted the officer, who called for additional support. The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office arrived and confronted Griffin. McWhorter said the suspect assaulted the officer.

“They tased the suspect and the first taser had no effect on him at all,” Lawrence Sheriff’s Office Capt. McWhorter said. The suspect then threw a large rock through the windshield of the deputy’s patrol car and then entered the car “like he was going to drive it away,” Capt. McWhorter said.

Authorities said Griffin stayed in the patrol car “about two hours.”

Chief McWhorter said three officers took turns holding the door closed so Griffin could not get out until he surrendered. During this time, family and friends of the suspect arrived to talk with him.

Chief McWhorter said trooper Mike Colburn gained some rapport with Griffin. “They were talking about Christ and hell,” he said. “That seemed to calm Griffin some.”

Rich Dutton, the Lawrence County High football coach, said he heard about the standoff and texted Chief McWhorter to offer his assistance.

“When I arrived he was sitting in the vehicle,” Dutton said. “We tried to calm him down. I was trying to remind him of what he had accomplished in his life and to assure him he would be OK.”

Dutton said Griffin “started showing some good emotions.”

But Griffin brandished a knife when he left the car, Capt. McWhorter said. McWhorter said family members were yelling for officers not to kill him.

“Our officers took a defensive stance and tased him a few times again,” he said.

Griffin fell and was handcuffed and ankle-cuffed, Chief McWhorter said.

Authorities said Griffin appeared to be having mental issues.

Dutton said the lawmen made him proud.

“They did something special today,” he said. “They were phenomenal, showing uncommon patience. It could have ended badly. I’m really proud to live in a community where the police handled things like they did today.”

Griffin starred in football at Speake High School before being severely injured in a shooting his senior year. The University of Tennessee had recruited the 6-foot-2-inch, 275-pound defensive tackle shortly before he was shot in his chest and stomach at a Caddo party in 2009.

In 2012, Griffin played defensive end for Eastern Arizona Community College and later transferred to the University of North Alabama, but did not play.

256-340-2442 or mike.wetzel@decaturdaily.com. Twitter @DD_Wetzel.

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