One punch was thrown before other officers broke up a fight between two Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputies earlier this month in Columbus, according to the department’s spokesman.
Lt. Joe Groover and Deputy Corey Gilleland were demoted and reassigned “in addition to serving unpaid suspensions and being removed from the department’s SWAT team,” Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks wrote in a statement. Wilbanks said Groover threw the punch.
Wilbanks said the two were at the annual Georgia Tactical Officers Association meeting March 11 in Columbus.
The two men were in a privately reserved dining room of a restaurant with other officers. Both were off duty, and it was not considered an official conference event.
An argument between the two escalated until “a single punch was thrown,” Wilbanks said.
“The altercation was immediately quelled by the other officers present, and all parties left the restaurant without further incident,” Wilbanks said.
Alcohol may have contributed to the fight, Wilbanks said, and Gilleland had a “very minor injury” that did not require medical treatment.
No further disciplinary action is pending.
“We won’t have anything further to release at this time due to an appeal filed by one of the employees,” Wilbanks wrote in an email.
Wilbanks said he doesn’t yet know when the appeal will be heard.