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Hall County SWAT team members suspended after restaurant fight

Authorities believe alcohol may have been a contributing factor to the fight.

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Two Hall County deputies have been taken off the department's SWAT team and suspended after getting into a fight at a Georgia restaurant.

According to the sheriff's office, deputies Lt. Joe Groover and Corey Gilleland became involved in a fight on March 11 while attending a Georgia Tactical Officers Association conference in Columbus, Ga.

A Hall County spokesperson said the two were off-duty in a privately reserved dining room when their disagreement turned violent - and not at an official event of the conference.

Witnesses said the fight wasn't able to escalate beyond a single punch before other officers in the room broke up the fight and both involved fighters left the restaurant. Gilleland received what a sheriff's office spokesperson described as "a very minor injury" that didn't require treatment.

The exact reason for the dispute was never released. However, authorities said they believed alcohol played a role.

Reports of the tussle soon traveled up the chain of command and both deputies were demoted and reassigned. The two are also serving unpaid suspensions and being removed from the SWAT team.

The sheriff's office reported that no further disciplinary action is planned.

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