Cairo officer: Wiley Griffin IV completed use of force training a month before Bikefest

The following is a summary of the trial of United States vs. Wiley Griffin et al. We are attempting to be as accurate as possible in reporting the trial, given the restrictions on recording equipment within the courtroom. The article contains statements and claims made in court by attorneys and witnesses during the course of opening statements and testimony. Those statements and claims do not represent the views or opinions of or its parent company, Flint Media Inc.

The four Sheriff’s deputies’ trial on Thursday, June 4 continued in the afternoon with the testimony of Lt. Wayne Redden, of the Cairo Police Department, and Jim Morris, a former chief deputy at the Decatur County Sherriff’s Office who still works there part-time. We will cover Morris’ testimony in a separate article on Friday.

Lt. Wayne Redden

The next witness called was Lt. Wayne Redden with the Cairo Police Department. Redden has worked at the Cairo PD since 1998. Currently, he oversees two patrol shifts and also serves as the department’s in-house training instructor.

Redden said there are two types of training every law enforcement officer in Georgia has to complete every year: 1) Re-qualify on the state firearms course 2) use of force training.

Redden said he specifically trains officers on the use of radar and laser speed detection, the use of state and national criminal info databases, and he is generally certified as an instructor.

Wiley Griffin IV, one of four defendants in the federal trial about an incident at Bainbridge Bikefest in September 2012, was a Grady County Sheriff’s deputy who was part of a security detail on the night in question. Aaron Parrish has alleged Wiley Griffin IV hit him several times in the face with a police flashlight.

Lt. Redden testified Griffin IV was one of about 15-20 officers who completed Redden’s class on use of force on August 12, 2012, just about a month prior to the incident at Bainbridge Bikefest.

Redden was asked by prosecutors what the use of force class covered. Redden said it covered how and when to use force, how to report use of force, the definition of excessive force and the financial and criminal penalties that officers could face if they used excessive force. Redden said he based his class on material from the Georgia Public Safety Training Center and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Redden defined use of force as “the amount of force necessary to affect an arrest,” and said excessive force went beyond what was necessary to make an arrest.

Redden testified his course also covered the situations in which officers may be required to use deadly force, including 1) if the officer felt his own life was in danger 2) if the officer felt another person’s life was in danger and 3) to stop the commission of a forcible felony, such as an armed robbery

Did Redden go over the types of weapons and tactics officers have at their disposal? Siscaretti asked. Redden said he covered different pressure points people have, the use of batons (which officers have to be certified for) and different types of holds officers may be trained to use.

Siscaretti: “Did you ever advise your students about using a flashlight as a tactic?”
Redden: “No. What I covered was the Georgia Public Safety Training Center’s material about appropriate use of force.”
Siscaretti: “Did you ever advise officers that they could hit civilians in the head as a means of affecting an arrest?”
Redden: “No. That’s not something I’ve learned myself or would have covered.”

Redden said when it came to reporting the use of force, he advised officers to “adhere to their department’s policy.” He said he reviewed copies of the use of force forms used by both Cairo police and Grady County Sheriff’s deputies at the class.

Redden was asked about the benefits of filling out a use of force report.

“It shows accuracy and keeps [an officer] from getting into trouble later if [they] can’t remember what happened…it also gives law enforcement agencies a ‘heads-up’ and can potentially ward off litigation.”

Redden’s students were also told about federal laws about violating a person’s civil rights, as well as the separate offense of conspiracy to violate civil rights, both of which are investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Questioned by defense attorney Josh Bell, Redden also acknowledged that sometimes officers have to make split-second decisions and that when use of force is evaluated later, it’s judged on what an officer saw at the scene, not from 20/20 hindsight.

Also under cross-examination, Redden said he did inform his students that Georgia laws concerning use of force always trump use of force policies that a local agency may have.

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