Two officers to return, one remains suspended - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Two officers to return, one remains suspended

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March 26, 2004

Sylvester- Two police officers, suspended after the death of a man they arrested, will be back on the job next week. But the assistant chief, who was also suspended, will remain on leave for now.

A grand jury refused to indict Officers Beth Pundavela, Brad Calloway and Assistant Chief Charles Thurmond earlier this week. The officers have been on paid suspension since 37-year old Herman Jackson's February 20th arrest and death from a crushed larynx.

Behind closed doors Friday, Sylvester city council members discussed whether the officers should return to work. "The mayor and council decided to vote to recommend to the city manger to re-instate Beth Pundavela and Brad Calloway to active duty in the police department, and for Charles Thurmond to remain on administrative leave at this time," says Mayor Bill Yearta.

Yearta did not explain why the council decided to keep Thurmond on leave, but he did say that the council will decide his fate with the police department at a later date.

"There may be some dispute in terms of what happened, but I feel like he should have been taken to the hospital. If someone is laying flat down in a seat apparently you should have taken him to the hospital for medical treatment," explains Dr. Bruce Washington.

Dr. Bruce Washington was the only council member to vote against the recommendation. He says it wasn't harsh enough. "I personally feel like they should have been fired, because of the fact that this man was not given medical attention."

And Washington says since the FBI is still conducting its own investigation the officers should not have been allowed to return to work with the department.

Officers Calloway and Pundavela are scheduled to return to active duty at the police department on Tuesday.

posted at 4:48PM by dave.miller@walb.com