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Ex-jailer charged with battery in incident with inmate
David Pirkle
David Pirkle

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation charged a former Hall County jailer on Thursday with striking a handcuffed inmate last month.

David Pirkle, 24, of Flowery Branch was arrested Thursday morning and charged with simple battery and violation of oath of office. His bond was set at $10,000.

Pirkle was fired Monday after an internal investigation of the Dec. 30 incident in which the Hall County Sheriff’s Office reported he struck the handcuffed inmate “without due cause.”

Pirkle was hired in August 2011 and had been on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

“As I said previously, the vast majority of our officers do a tremendous job,” Sheriff Gerald Couch said in a news release.  “As your sheriff, excessive use of force cannot and will not be tolerated nor will I hesitate to request a criminal investigation into such matters when warranted.”

John Bankhead, director of the public affairs office for the GBI, said although Pirkle’s investigation had a quick turnover, there’s no way to project the lifespan of any one investigation.

“There are so many factors involved in how long an investigation takes. It can depend on the availability of witnesses, what other agents have going on or whether they’re called to other crime scenes and so many different factors,” said Bankhead. “I wish all the investigations were this quick, but there’s no set calendar. It takes as long as it does.”

Bankhead had no further comment on the arrest.

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