VIDEO: WPPD officer on administrative leave had resigned from TCSO after excessive use of force complaint

Published 12:42 pm Friday, August 19, 2022

By Daniel Evans and Ed Pugh

A West Point Police Department officer on administrative leave was forced to resign from the Troup County Sheriff’s Office in 2020 after an unnecessary use of force investigation.

According to an internal review document from the Troup County Sheriff’s Office, Donald Bramblett, identified by the WPPD as one of five officers on administrative leave, resigned in lieu of termination in April 2020 after an investigation into a Feb. 14, 2020 incident. A video of the incident appears to show Bramblett trying to pull Ryan Jameel Boyd by the head into a patrol car and then hitting him with a palm strike to the head.

The review document states Boyd was verbally abusive toward officers and was resisting by refusing to walk and using his body as dead weight. On the video, Boyd is lying down and refusing to get in the backseat of a patrol car. He’s laying partially out of the driver side backdoor when Bramblett opens the passenger rear door and starts trying to pull him into the vehicle.

According to the incident report, Bramblett said his hand got caught in Boyd’s handcuffs.

“Deputy Bramblett’s actions were not objectively reasonable and not in accordance with the Troup County Sheriff’s Office policy B-19 excessive or unnecessary use of force not resulting in injury,” the internal review states. “Deputy Bramblett also gave conflicting statements in regard to his hand getting caught in Boyd’s handcuffs which caused him to strike Boyd, violating Troup County Sheriff’s Office Policy A-19 conduct detrimental to the sheriff’s office.”

Bramblett resigned on April 29, 2020, according to a resignation letter he wrote to the sheriff’s office.

In the incident in West Point, which occurred Aug. 7, 2022, an officer is shown on video tossing a security camera across a resident’s yard during an early morning call. The WPPD has not specifically identified which officer threw the camera, though Bramblett was initially placed on administrative leave first and the individual in the video matches his description. The other four officers — Officer Dylan Harmon, Officer Zachary Heyboer, Sgt. William Osteen, and Detective Elizabeth Wegienka  — were placed on administrative leave according to a follow-up press release.

It’s also been alleged that racial slurs were used, though the audio is unclear, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

On Aug. 8, 2022, resident Tomeshia James Madden filed a complaint with the West Point Police Department about an officer using racial slurs.

The homeowner reported that while reviewing her security camera video and listening to the audio, she heard an officer use a racial slur, followed by him taking the Ring camera from the porch of the home and throwing it in the bushes, according to GBI.

The camera that recorded the officers is angled just above them.

“The GBI has received a copy of several videos from the incident location showing officers attempt to contact someone at the home for a lengthy period by knocking on the door and announcing their presence over a Public Address (PA) speaker,” the GBI press release said. “After no one came to the door, the decision was made to not make entry and to leave the home.  Before leaving, a West Point Police officer took the Ring camera from the front porch of the home and tossed it across the yard into bushes. After tossing the Ring camera, an officer can be heard telling another officer something; however, the audio is unintelligible.”

The GBI said it will conduct an independent investigation. Once the investigation is completed, the case file will be given to the Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office for review.

West Point Police Chief Donald Britt said Friday that he was not aware that Bramblett had resigned in lieu of termination from TCSO for this April 2020 incident. Britt said during the hiring process they have an investigator review an applicant’s files and they typically say whether someone was under review or [resigned] in lieu of termination.

“We have an investigator who does background checks on people,” Britt said. “We just go by what we saw in his file, so if we don’t see it in his background check when the detective brings it back, we just deal with that.”

When asked if this information would influence the investigation, Britt was unsure as he was not aware of this incident. The LDN has supplied Britt with the documents from TCSO.