GBI Investigating Use of Force by Investigator in Crawford County
Crawford County, GA (April 14, 2021) – On Wednesday, April 14, 2021, the GBI arrested Dennis Ballard, 47, of Crawford County and charged him with Aggravated Assault and Violation of Oath of Office. Ballard is an investigator with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office and had been on administrative leave during a use of force investigation conducted by the GBI. Ballard was booked into the Crawford County Jail.
On Friday, March 19, 2021, the GBI was requested by Crawford County Sheriff Lewis Walker to conduct a use of force investigation on an incident involving Ballard, assigned to work narcotics, that occurred on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. The preliminary investigation reveals that on March 16, 2021, Ballard observed what he believed to be a hand to hand drug transaction in a motel parking lot in Crawford County. Ballard followed the suspects in the vehicle and contacted a Crawford County Sheriff’s Office patrol unit to assist in a traffic stop of the vehicle. When the vehicle was stopped, Ballard and the Crawford County SO deputy encountered two adult men, one adult woman, and 2 juveniles in the vehicle. Ballard removed a backpack from inside the vehicle. Shortly after removing the backpack, one of the men attempted to snatch the backpack out of Ballard’s hand and run. The other man also ran from the location. In the attempt to snatch the backpack from Ballard, Ballard and the man fought. During the fight, Ballard and the man ended up on the ground behind the vehicle. Ballard then placed his forearm on the neck of the man and applied force which resulted in the man becoming unresponsive. Ballard had to perform a sternum rub to revive the man. After the man was revived, Ballard placed handcuffs on the man and assisted him to his feet. Seconds later, Ballard kicked the feet out from under the handcuffed man and took him to the ground.
The GBI will complete an independent investigation. Once complete, it will be turned over to the Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.