Officer on leave

A Waynesboro police officer who has worked at several other local departments has been placed on administrative leave after using a taser on a teenager at a gas station, according to the Wayne County News. 

James Kirkley, who has worked for — and reportedly been fired by — the Laurel Police Department, the Sandersville Police Department and the Jones County Junior College Campus Police, is being investigated for his actions, Mayor Richard Johnson told The Wayne County News. 

The cellphone video of Kirkley’s encounter with the teen has been viewed more than 100,000 times, shared more than 2,000 times and has elicited more than 2,000 comments. The incident occurred around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Valero gas station on Mississippi Drive, Waynesboro Police Chief Holt Ross told the newspaper. 

Benjamin Gage Cason, 17, was charged with disorderly conduct, failure to comply, failure to yield to an authorized emergency vehicle, unreasonable noise (muffler), fleeing vehicle and resisting or obstructing arrest. The video doesn’t show what led to the teen being tasered and what’s being said isn’t audible. Cason does appear to comply by handing the officer his license and his walking away when the officer deploys his taser. 

After handcuffing Cason and standing him up against the pickup, the officer then puts his hands around the teen’s throat. Cason was granted a medical release from jail by Municipal Court Judge Charles Chapman, The Wayne County News reported.

“We will look at the officer’s body-cam footage, along with footage from the surveillance cameras at Valero,” Ross told the newspaper. “We are taking officer and other statements as well. Wherever the evidence leads us is where we will go."

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