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HomeNewsRCSO Investigators Arrested and Fired for 2022 Excessive Force on Inmates

RCSO Investigators Arrested and Fired for 2022 Excessive Force on Inmates

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Updated Feb. 12, 2024:

On Monday, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division has charged Corporal Daniel D’Aversa and Deputy Dantavion Jones with one count of Battery (Misdemeanor) and Violation of Oath of a Public Officer (Felony) in connection with the 2022 excessive force incident that led to two investigators being charged last week.

They were booked into the Charles B. Webster Detention Center. Retired jail Lieutenant John Whitaker was also charged in this incident with one count of Aggravated Assault (Felony), one count of Battery (Misdemeanor) and Violation of Oath of a Public Officer. He was also booked into the jail.

D’Aversa began his employment with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office on July 29, 2006, Jones began his employment on June 21, 2018. D’Aversa was most recently assigned to the jail.  Jones was assigned to the Road Patrol Division.  At the time of the incident, D’Aversa and Jones were both assigned to the Road Patrol Division. Their employment with RCSO was terminated Monday.

Original Story:

Two Richmond County investigators have been fired and arrested after the discovery of a 2022 excessive force incident in the Charles B. Webster Detention Center.

Johnny Atkinson, 45, was charged Friday with aggravated assault, battery and violation of oath of a public officer. Austin Birch, 27, was charged with battery and violation of oath of a public officer. Both have been booked into the jail and later terminated, the release said.

On Thursday, Richmond County internal affairs officers were first made aware of a May 2022 incident between deputies and inmates.

“After the review of body camera and surveillance videos, it was determined that the amount of force used in response to the call was unnecessary,” a press release said.

Atkinson began his RCSO employment in 2018 while Birch began in 2019. They were most recently assigned to the criminal investigations division. At the time of the 2022 incident, they were assigned to the road patrol division.

Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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