APD officer relieved of duty after being indicted for breaking man’s ankle in 2019
ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - The Atlanta Police Department has relieved an Atlanta police officer of duty after he was charged with aggravated battery related to an incident on April 5, 2019. APD says Vickers will remain in that status until there is an emergency hearing with the Chief of Police.
According to the indictment, Donald Vickers is accused of tackling a man named Tyler Griffin and rendering his left ankle “useless.”
“I do feel 100% better, and it just goes into the fact that I know I did everything right that evening,” said Griffin, in an interview on Tuesday, after learning about the indictment.
Vickers and another officer pulled Griffin over because they thought he was drinking and driving.
When Griffin exited the car, he brushed an officer’s hand away. Vickers reportedly tackled him in response.
After the tackle, Vickers could be heard saying on body camera video “You sound like a little girl right now.”
“I have to walk on this ankle every day and the pain I’m experiencing causes me to think about my case. Because it’s not over, it’s like I’m reliving the trauma every single day,” said Griffin, on Tuesday.
After he was arrested, Griffin filed a complaint with the department. He said that the officers were in an unmarked car with no lights and sirens and he became concerned for his safety when he realized he was followed. Griffin denied he was intoxicated at the time of the traffic stop.
In December 2019, Vickers was cited by the department’s Office of Professional Standards for breaking multiple police policies, including temporarily turning off his body camera and failing to provide medical attention.
However, he was not fired at that time.
Griffin lost his job after the incident and surgery was required to repair his ankle.
Attorneys for Tyler Griffin filed a lawsuit on June 15, 2020.
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Vickers joined the Atlanta Police Department in 2006 after graduation from the police academy.
In 2010, he was placed on administrative leave after witnesses say they saw him carry an assault rifle into The Underground in downtown Atlanta. He was off duty at the time and claimed he was looking for someone. Security guards reportedly told Vickers that he could not be there with a weapon and asked him to leave.
Vickers reportedly did not identify himself as a police officer. The Atlanta Police Department told CBS46 at the time they were investigating the incident but the results of that investigation were not released.
A civil trail against the officer is set to start in late September, according to Griffin’s attorneys.
Matt Kahn of the Butler Law Firm said regardless of the outcome of the trial, due to a city ordinance, the City will not have to pay more than $2,000 per officer.
“Money talks and without having real financial consequences for these officer’s constitutional violations it’s going to keep happening and we’re not going to see any real change,” said Kahn.
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