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Sunday August 30th, 2015 4:00PM

Commerce man charged after fighting Banks County deputies

By Rob Moore Reporter
HOMER - A Commerce man faces several charges after fighting with Banks County sheriff's deputies, slightly injuring one, early Wednesday.

Ray Lafayetta Hill, 51, is charged with two counts of willful obstruction of law enforcement officers, possession of cocaine, and loitering or prowling, Banks County Detention Center reports show.

The incident occurred after officers responded to Hudson River Drive off Georgia Highway 59 at 2:55 a.m. regarding a prowler.

When deputies arrived in the area, they were approached by a male coming from the house across from the complainant's home. The man told deputies he had run out of gas and was attempting to get some help.

The complainant said Hill had pressure washed his deck a few months ago, but that he didn't know Hill well enough for him to be banging on his door at that time of the morning.

"While speaking with the suspect, he appeared to be nervous," Deputy Christopher Coombs' report states. "He kept trying to create distance between him and us."

Coombs noted he offered to give Hill a ride to home on Georgia Highway 164, but first wanted to make sure Hill was not carrying any weapons.

"The suspect stated that he had a pocket knife on him, but that there was no worry, and was hesitant for us to pat him down for any weapons," the report states.

Coombs asked Hill to walk toward the rear of his patrol car.

"When I started to pat him down the suspect removed his hands from my trunk two times, and had to be told to keep his hands on my trunk," Coombs' report states. "As I went to spread his legs to resume the pat down he took off running. At this time Deputy Sheriff [Christopher] Boyer tackled him to the ground after a short foot chase."

It was then that the struggle began.

"I grabbed a hold of the subject while he was on the ground, telling him to stop fighting, and put his hands behind his back," Coombs wrote. "The suspect refused and continued to resist us."

Coombs was able to get one handcuff on Hill, but wrote that Hill kept trying to reach into his pants pockets with his free hand.

After issuing a verbal command to Hill for him to stop resisting officers or he would be tased, Coombs used his duty taser to stun Hill, the report states.

When Coombs attempted to put the cuff on Hill's other hand, Hill began to resist again.

"I then heard Deputy Sheriff Boyer yell that he [Hill] had something in his hand," Coombs wrote. "I grabbed his hand and found he was holding a cylindrical container, like a travel-size Tylenol container. I removed it, and told him to stop resisting or I would tase him again."

Hill did not comply and Coombs stunned him again.

Hill "started to comply until he felt the cuff to start to go on then he began fighting again," Coombs wrote. "After struggling to get the cuff on him I again warned him to stop fighting or he was going to be tased again, to which he did not comply."

Coombs then stunned Hill again.

Coombs and Boyer were able to get the second cuff on Hill's wrist, but Hill continued to struggle.

Deputies restrained Hill until he stopped resisting, then took him to Boyer's patrol car and finished searching him.

Hill was found to be in possession of a smoking pipe and a pocketknife.

"Shortly after the fight, Deputy Sheriff Boyer began hurting in his right side and left arm, complaining of back spasms," Coombs wrote.

Banks County Fire and EMS responded, checking both Hill and Boyer.

Deputies located two suspected crack rocks of cocaine in the container Hill was holding, the report states.

Hill was taken to the Banks County Detention Center and turned over to the jail staff.

Deputy Sheriff Carissa McFaddin said Boyer was checked out at Habersham Medical Center for a "minor back injury due to the struggle."

"Capt. Gribble said he'll be back at work his next shift," McFaddin said.

McFaddin said the department recently started a quarterly risk analysis board, which includes reviews of use of force, officer-involved wrecks, and vehicle pursuits.
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