Monroe Police Chief R.V. Watts said that there will be a Georgia POST (Police Officers Training and Standards) investigation into the recent action by two Monroe Police officers even though they resigned this week. Monroe police officers Walter Clough and Sgt. Jerrod Robertson resigned mid-week while two investigations were being conducted into actions that were taken by them during an incident at Monroe Estates on the weekend of June 15, 2019.
“We are conducting an internal investigation in the department to see if there was any wrongdoing or policy violations and the (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) also is conducting a criminal investigation to make sure they didn’t do anything criminal,” Watts said, adding that just the fact that they resigned during an investigation automatically prompts an investigation by Georgia POST. He said it wouldn’t make any difference whether they were fired or chose to resign during the investigation, which is what they did, the results would be the same – a POST investigation would happen anyway. “The POST investigation is what decides whether or not they keep their certification.”
Although the video taken on a cell phone of the incident is out in the public, Watts said the police body cams would not be released to the public until such time as the investigations are complete.
“They are not eligible for open records while the investigations are ongoing,” Watts said.
Watts said that Clough had only been with the department for nine months and that he came to MPD from Florida, where he actually earned to lifesaving awards during his time of service. Robertson had been with the department for about three years.
The charges against Ivan Tory, the man tased during the incident which has prompted the investigations and resignations, will be adjudicated in the courts.
In the meantime, the Monroe Police Department is now operating two officers short. Watts said the department was at full contingent prior to Robertson and Clough’s resignation, but they are now seeking to have those positions filled. The City of Monroe is now seeking two patrol officers.
A group with East Metro for Social Justice were in downtown Monroe Tuesday holding a press conference on the events during an arrest at Monroe Estates on Saturday night as well as an issue in Covington. According to the press release from East Metro for Social Justice, they are calling on citizens review boards in Monroe and Covington to hold the police accountable.
“We call on citizens of Walton and Newton Counties, Please stand up! If you see something, say something. Get it on video and share it. This is the only way we can stop police brutality. Restrain the Police,” East Metro for Social Justice wrote in a press release.
The Monroe Police officer involved in the incident has been suspended, without pay, for an undisclosed amount of time and will undergo complete corrective and remedial training according to Monroe Police Chief RV Watts.
Family said they have hired an attorney
Monroe Police Chief R.V. Watts said an officer involved in an arrest over the weekend has been suspended, without pay, and will undergo complete corrective and remedial training. At this time Watts is not revealing the length of the suspension, nor is he addressing the incident itself as those charges are still pending. He did, however, address the actions taken by one of the arresting officers.
“In response to the manner taken by one of our officers and how he addressed the situation and conducted himself towards the community, I do see a serious policy violation as it pertains to our Code of Conduct,” Watts said in a released statement. “We at the Monroe Police Department understand the importance and need to build and strengthen relationships in our community between law enforcement and our citizens. The actions of this officer in this incident did not reflect that and in fact, brought a negative image towards himself and this agency. We are still currently investigating and reviewing every aspect in regards to this incident. This particular officer has been found to be in violation of our Code of Conduct and has been suspended from the department without pay and will have to conduct and complete remedial and corrective training.”
With regard to the actual incident, Watts said he has reviewed the officers’ videos and the videos that were released to the public and media by citizens from the community.
“I cannot discuss the particulars of the cases because these charges are still pending. However, I can tell you that individuals were arrested and charged with different violations of Georgia Law,” Watts said.
The video that was released by the family involved shows an incident in which Ivan Tory was tased and then pulled from a chair on his front porch and arrested. The police officer can be heard on the tape using expletives and asking “Who’s next: Who’s next? His wife, Shanna Tory, said when she went to her husband, the taser was shot in her direction too, but missed hitting her directly. She said the officer then shoved her back. She said the family has photographs of bruising on both she and her husband. She said they have hired an attorney from Morgan and Morgan as a result of the incident.
Ivan Tory was arrested and released an hour before midnight on Father’s Day, his wife said.
“The kids were waiting for him,” she said. A second individual also was arrested at the scene – a man she only knows of as “Mike” who also lives in the community. He was the one that brought the police to their house, according to Shanna Tory.
“We were not even at the party. We were just sitting on our front porch. The officers were coming to break up the party and ended up being detoured. They immediately started tasing him until he was unconscious,” Shanna Tory said. “They aimed at his heart and he has a heart condition. I know they didn’t know that, but they shouldn’t have aimed it at his heart.”
However, she went on to say that it was “Mike” who was initially in an altercation with the police when he was told to get out of the road.
“He came up on our porch. The police told us to go inside and my husband told them they were being disrespectful. We were not involved and were not doing anything. Why did we have to go inside?” she said.
Watts said he is not commenting on the incident, that is up to the courts to decide after reviewing all the evidence, including the officer’s body camera. In 2014, MPD purchased body cameras “to protect both the police officers as well as the public,” according to Keith Glass, who was the police chief at the time.
According to Shanna Tory, her husband is being charged with obstruction of a police officer and the other individual was charged with disorderly conduct.