OGLETHORPE COUNTY SHERIFF GABRIEL BREAKS SILENCE ABOUT ATHENS OFFICER

The Oglethorpe County Sheriff has responded with remarks about the hiring of Officer Taylor Saulters, the Athens Police Officer fired on June 2 after hitting a man running from police.

Oglethorpe County Sheriff David Gabriel took to Facebook to respond to a protest event scheduled today in Oglethorpe County

His facebook post below:

I have had numerous residents contact me about this event. They have asked about a counter protest. When I originally posted about hiring Taylor Saulters I said if you are from Oglethorpe I would be happy to explain my decision and if you were not , I wouldn’t worry about it. This is exactly why. Take time to look at every single person who is attending, interested and invited. I count 0 from Oglethorpe County, 3 from Athens including the organizer and everyone else from The Atlanta area. There is one speaker from Oglethorpe. They are coming in to our community to drive their own agenda of an injustice as thy see it.

In my opinion the real injustice here are these individuals coming in to our community in an attempt to divide it. This group who touts themselves as advocates for an individuals rights is making every effort to prevent a person from getting a job without any due process charging any crime, finding him at fault in an accident or having been reviewed by the POST Council. He was fired for violating departmental policy. They have to make sure he is unable to provide for his family and never have another job. Apparently having him fired was not enough.

I have remained quiet about all of this other than letting my community know that I did hire Taylor Saulters. What no one is saying is the fact that the technique used to block the fleeing felon with a car has been practiced for decades. I have seen it numerous times personally while I worked there. The intent is to block the person and not hit them. However everything doesn’t always go perfectly in foot chases. I have seen offenders clothesline themselves, fall 30 feet on to train tracks and jump over walls breaking both legs. I do not believe Saulters making contact with Patmon with his vehicle was intentional. This was the exactly same thing Chief Freeman said to his officers. He did not believe it was intentional with every fiber of his being. If the contact was not intentional then it is not a use of force or anything criminal. Saulters was also cited for a policy violation of not having his vehicle under control. Again, either you are in control and hit the person on purpose or your vehicle was not under control and the contact was accidental.

Having said this my primary concern is for the citizens that live in our County. We have a good thing going here. We help each other because we are neighbors. We pull together in tragic situations and give all we can regardless of the race, creed or nationality for those who are in need. For that reason I ask if you do come to this event with an opposing view of those organizing it , don’t make it a counter protest. Put your best foot forward and let the message be that we support this community. It is your right to do as you wish. But I just don’t want this community left holding the bag when everyone gets back in their cars and drives back to their homes and communities in Athens and Atlanta.

I think perhaps this group does not realize it is not nice to patronize a community just because we do not live in the big city. To me this really says more about the community they are from than our community they are protesting in.

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