An Athens man called the Barrow County Sheriff's Office on Dec. 21 to report he had been illegally detained while traveling on Phillipsburg Drive. The man said both he and his son, who is moving into the neighborhood, had been flagged down while driving through the subdivision and questioned about what they were doing in the area.
"[The Athens man] stated that he felt that his constitutional rights were violated because the male subject had no right to speak to him as he was driving through the neighborhood," the deputy wrote in the report. "He stated that he feels that he was stopped because he was a black male driving through the area."
The deputy explained that as long as the neighborhood watch member did not restrain him or prevent him from leaving, he was not illegally detained. The Athens man reportedly informed the deputy he felt that he was "not being done justice" and demanded the names of the deputies who responded to the call. The deputy provided the man with the information and left to speak with the neighborhood watch member.
The neighborhood watch member said there have been a number of break-ins in the area, so he and other members of the neighborhood watch make an effort to identify any strange vehicles in the area. After seeing the Athens man driving slowly through the cul-de-sac, the neighborhood watch member flagged the man down and asked why he was in the neighborhood.
"He stated that he attempted to talk to [the Athens man] and was met with resistance," the deputy wrote. "He stated that [the Athens man] made references to him being racist and [the neighborhood watch member] broke off the conversation. [The neighborhood watch member] stated that [the Athens man] continued to argue toward him and he ended the conversation."
The deputy returned to the Athens man's location and explained the deputies had found no reason to believe a crime had been committed. The Athens man, according to the incident report, was not satisfied with that response.
"[The Athens man] made statements to the effect of 'This is not over,' and eluded to a complaint and possible civil suit for violation of his rights," the report stated. "A comment was even made comparing the incident to the incident with George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin."
The Athens man was provided with a case number and audio and video of the incident was recorded.
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