Covington officer cleared in shooting

COVINGTON - Reviews have been completed of an officer-involved shooting involving Covington Police Officer Grant Satterfield, and it has been determined he acted appropriately, according to CPD spokesman Detective D.J. Seals.

The incident in question occurred Aug. 18 and began as a traffic stop after an officer said he heard extraordinarily loud music blaring from a vehicle as it traveled down Brown Bridge Road about 10:30 p.m. After failing to stop immediately, the vehicle came to a rest in the driveway of Solid Rock Baptist Church.

"The driver of the vehicle, Earnest Corbett III, jumps out and starts running down the middle of Brown Bridge Road," Seals said. "He made a right ... and went off into a wooded area, going toward Turner Lake Circle."

Officers converged on the scene as backup and Satterfield spotted the suspect and chased after him.

Seals said the area was extremely dark and Satterfield was giving repeated commands to the suspect to stop and get on the ground.

"He's not stopping, but all of a sudden he abruptly did stop and turns and heads back toward the officer. He has a large, dark object in his hands and the officer can't tell what it is," Seals said. "Believe me, this is not something you see every day when you're chasing a suspect."

Seals said the officer continued to give the man commands to stop and show his hands, but he ignored the officer.

"The officer fires a round in fear for his life. He (the suspect) is coming toward him with something in his hand; he has not complied with any commands the officer has given him; and obviously the officer is thinking it's a weapon in his hand," Seals said.

The suspect was not struck and Seals said immediately after the round was fired, the suspect got on the ground. By this time other officers had caught up with the two and the suspect was handcuffed and arrested.

It was discovered that the object the suspect had in his hand was a tennis shoe.

"Sometime during the chase, we don't know why, the suspect took his shoes off. They were a dark pair of tennis shoes. He had one of them in his right hand as he's coming toward the officer," Seals said.

Seals said it was fortunate in this instance that the officer missed because, "We do not fire warning shots," he said. "The officer was in fear for his life. We hear stories every day about officers being shot in situations like this. We don't have the luxury to sit around and wait and see what's in his hand. Thank God nobody was hurt. The last thing any officer wants to do is injure someone."

Seals said the review into the incident began immediately and all parties involved were interviewed, including the suspect.

"We talked to everyone - the officer, other officers on the scene and even the suspect who fully admits he turned around on the officer and came forward with an object in his hand and did not comply with any of the officer's commands," Seals said. "His actions were fully reviewed and it was determined that the officer did not violate any of our policies and procedures nor Georgia law. He was completely right in his actions," Seals said. "Our review determined he did a great job."

Seals said communication between all the officers involved in the chase was excellent and they were able to help each other.

"It was a dangerous and frightening situation for everybody, but everybody did a great job," he said. "I'm proud of everybody."

Corbett, 29, of 309 Bonner St., Monticello, was found to have $1,520 in counterfeit bills in his possession and was charged with driving without a license, obstruction or hindering law enforcement officers, forgery in the second degree, possession of counterfeit money, fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement officers and noise violation.

Seals said the investigation into the counterfeit money has been turned over to the U.S. Secret Service.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.