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SWAT called in to put down jail 'disturbance'

Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix said that with no injuries reported, the outcome couldn't have been better.
Credit: Spalding County Sheriff's Office
Spalding County jail incident on May 7, 2021

SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. — A Georgia sheriff is addressing an incident at the local jail that required a SWAT team on Friday morning.

Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix issued a statement later in the day describing an incident that happened at the county jail around 6:45 a.m. In the notice, the sheriff's office said that inmates of one housing unit had begun creating a "disturbance" and eventually barricaded the entrance using metal beds while also trying to block surveillance cameras.

Dix said that detention center staff tried to de-escalate the situation going on inside including face-to-face meetings with inmates.

"The inmates that were involved chose not to cooperate with those attempts and the situation began to slowly deteriorate," the sheriff said.

The sheriff said that de-escalation attempts continued to fail until around 9:45 a.m. when he decided to call in reinforcements. 

"Before the event could deteriorate any further, I made the decision to deploy the Spalding County Sheriff's Office SWAT Team armed with various types of less-lethal weapons into the Unit," the sheriff said. 

With the help of the sheriff's office K-9 unit, members of the detention center staff, and "a distraction device," the sheriff said the unit was secured again without incident or injury.

"All of the inmates immediately complied when entry was made," the sheriff wrote. "There were no further incidents and no uses of force."

Credit: Spalding County Sheriff's Office
Spalding County jail incident on May 7, 2021

Since the incident, the sheriff said authorities have identified inmates believed to be responsible for instigating the disturbance. Those inmates have been "removed and placed in lockdown pending disciplinary charges and further criminal charges," according to the sheriff.

He said that inmates who weren't involved will remain in the location. The sheriff's office is still determining what led up to the incident.

"Our SWAT Team and Detention staff did an outstanding job in responding to, attempting to de-escalate, and containing this incident before it got out of hand," the sheriff said. "There could not have been a better outcome.”

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