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Pendergrass officer investigated on false arrest charge

DA asks GBI to review evidence

POSTED: March 16, 2008 5:01 a.m.
PENDERGRASS - A police officer in northeast Georgia is suspended without pay as authorities investigate a complaint that he falsely arrested a man during a traffic stop.

Pendergrass Police Chief Rob Russell says Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents are examining evidence against Officer Bill Garner. Russell says the officer is accused of arresting a passenger in a car for having an open container of alcohol when no open container was present.

Authorities say the evidence includes a video from the camera in a Jefferson Police officer's cruiser, which arrived as backup during the traffic stop last month on U.S. 129.

Jefferson Police Chief Joe Wirthman said Tuesday the Jefferson officer showed his supervisor the video. Wirthman reviewed the video and turned it over to Piedmont Judicial Circuit District Attorney Richard Bridgeman on February 25th. Two days later, the district attorney asked GBI agents to conduct an investigation.

Wirthman declined to say what he saw on the video that prompted him it over to authorities.




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