15-year-old leaves Valdosta officer unconscious and bleeding from his head, report says

A Valdosta Police Department officer had to be taken to the hospital after an altercation between himself and a juvenile left him unconscious.
Published: Nov. 3, 2023 at 6:11 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2023 at 6:22 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - A Valdosta police officer is recovering after a confrontation with a 15-year-old suspect left him unconscious.

The 15-year-old is being held in a Regional Youth Detention Center after authorities described him as being an unruly teenager.

This all comes after an officer attempted to put the juvenile in a patrol vehicle. Police say the juvenile then began pushing and kicking at the officer. While trying to gain control, they both fell to the ground, but the officer struck the back of his head leaving him bleeding heavily and unconscious.

“What we’re seeing is a lack of respect out of our youth in the community. Lack of respect towards their parents and grandparents,” Chief Leslie Manahan of Valdosta Police Department, said. “This juvenile has taken the handcuffs from behind his back, put them in front of him, and was sitting in the backseat of a patrol car eating candy and laughing at the situation. I don’t know how we fix that as a community.”

WALB requested body cam footage of the incident, but since he is a juvenile, VPD says they are not able to release it.

Charges the juvenile will face because of this incident include aggravated battery on a police officer, obstruction of a police officer and unruly juvenile. While being transported, the teenager did damage the patrol vehicle as well adding on another charge of interference with government property.

“People point their fingers at the police like we’re the ones that have to solve the problem, but we can’t,” Manahan said. “We enforce laws, and when laws are broken, we enforce that. But when it comes to parental guidance — as a community we’ve got to start standing up.”

Manahan says her department notices a lot of juveniles think because they are minors, they will not be punished by the judicial system. She says juveniles need to understand that they too have consequences for their actions.