Court records show history of complaints against Bibb deputy Scarborough

Former deputy had history of improper conduct

A Bibb County deputy who resigned during an investigation has a history of trouble dealing with the public, according to sheriff department records.

Deputies Robert Scarborough and Jeff Cranford resigned in September while being investigated for improper contact with sex-trafficking victims.

The investigation began after the FBI told the Bibb sheriff's office that their numbers appeared in women's cell phones.

But records filed in a lawsuit against the sheriff's office suggest that Scarborough was reassigned from street patrol six years ago due to "a pattern of unprofessional behavior."

In a 2011 letter, Sheriff David Davis wrote that members of the public had filed nine complaints against him in just over a year and a half.

While he was exonerated in some of those cases, David wrote, "the volume of complaints in itself indicates that there is an issue which must be addressed."

The latest complaint involved a traffic stop in which Scarborough allegedly reached inside a vehicle, unlocked the door and put a woman in a wrist lock because she refused to hand over her license.

In the letter, Davis called that "unnecessary physical force" and said, "This behavior will not be tolerated."

He told Scarborough that he was on probation and moving to the communications section for up to a year.

Davis's letter came several months after Capt. Harry Colbert wrote a report on another complaint, about Scarborough yelling at a woman during a traffic stop.

"I am at a loss as to why Deputy Scarborough continues to act in an unprofessional manner," Colbert wrote. "He has been counseled....

"I would suggest moving him to the HEAT unit, but we would just move the problem to another place," the captain wrote. "It may be time to take a harder approach..."

In January 2012, Davis wrote to Scarborough again, saying that his conduct in the communications section for the past year had been commendable, with no complaints from the public.

He told Scarborough he had earned a move back to the patrol unit.

Those documents were filed in U.S. District Court last month by Timothy Rivers, a former Bibb deputy who sued the Bibb County Sheriff's Office and several deputies, including Scarborough, after getting fired in 2015.

His complaint describes how Scarborough came to his home during a domestic disturbance and told him, "Sheriff Davis is going to fire my ass."

A document filed by Rivers said he was including Scarborough's personnel record "to prove to the courts that Defendant Robert Scarborough has a history of unprofessional  behavior, which was signed off by David Davis."

Sheriff Davis on Friday said that those incidents were in the past.

"You have a pattern of behavior but I think the last time that he had had any issue was 2012."

Davis wasn't sure how many other officers had a long list of complaints against them.

"I don't know..." said Davis. "We've got a big agency here but we have some that have complaints that come in that we investigate, sometimes they're valid, sometimes they're not, sometimes you can't tell whether they're valid or not."

But Davis was sure of one thing: how he would have responded if the two deputies hadn't resigned.

"They would have been fired."

Scarborough declined comment when we spoke to him Friday but said in a comment on the 13WMAZ Facebook page that he resigned because of a knee injury that prevented him from going on patrol. He added that in his view, he did not break any laws or sheriff's office policies.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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