Washington County Sheriff speaks on the in-custody death of a Milledgeville man
DEEPSTEP, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Washington County Deputies are under investigation for the death of a man in their custody.
Three Deputies–Deputy Michael Howell, Sergeant Lee Copeland and Deputy Rhett Scott–responded to a call on Friday July 7th about a suspicious person at a home on Deepstep Road near town.
That’s where they found Eurie Martin of Milledgeville and attempted to take him into custody. It ended in Martin being tasered by the deputies multiple times and then experiencing ‘physical distress’.
Deputies called for an ambulance, but by the time it had arrived, Martin was unresponsive and declared dead.
The Department then called in the GBI to do a separate investigation of what happened.
“Due to the use of force, I wanted the GBI to conduct an independent investigation into the incident,” said Washington County Sheriff Thomas Smith.
Sheriff Thomas H. Smith released a statement saying the three deputies were ‘suspended pending the GBI investigation’ as a part of their office policies.
He says he’s aware of the concerns of the public and shares those same concerns.
“I want to reassure the (residents) of Washington County and the family of Eurie Martin, that a thorough and independent investigation will be conducted. My office has been and will continue to cooperate fully with the GBI and the District Attorney as this incident is investigated.”
The GBI told 41NBC on Tuesday that Martin’s body was examined but in need of further examination to determine a cause of death.