Internal probe finds no wrongdoing by deputy in McCracken County Fair incident

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY — The McCracken County Sheriff’s Department says a volunteer deputy involved in a confrontation with a teen at the McCracken County Fair last week will not face disciplinary action at this time.

As Local 6 reported Monday, Paducah mother Brianna Hill said she believes deputies went too far in a confrontation with her son, 15 year-old Tariq Griffin, at the McCracken County Fair on June 29.

On Friday, July 6, the McCracken County Sheriff’s Department sent a lengthy news release detailing what it says its internal administrative investigation found. The release says an internal affairs investigator reviewed all recorded video and audio of the incident that was available and interviewed seven witnesses, including the deputy initially involved, other deputies who assisted the first deputy, fair personnel and teens who were there when it happened.

The sheriff’s department says in light of that investigation, it has decided “that the response to resistance by the deputy involved was consistent with office policy and was necessary and proper in response to situation. As such, no administrative sanctions or disciplinary action will be taken against this deputy.”

So what happened at the fair?

In Monday’ story, Griffin told Local 6 he was at the fair when a friend of his picked up a soda can that spilled from a vendor’s cart. Griffin said he thought is friend was trying to help put the can back, so when deputies confronted the friend — accusing him of stealing — he went to his friend’s defense. Here’s what the teen said happened next: “They finally asked me to leave, so I stand up. And then, when I stand up, he grabs me by my arm, and I was like ‘Man get off me. I’m leaving.’ And then, as I jerk my arm away, he said, he swung on me, and then they all attacked me. It was like three of them attacked me.”

The McCracken County Sheriff’s Department news release says at first, Griffin refused to leave —instead, sitting in a chair and loudly cursing at the deputy who told him to leave. The department says the deputy put his hand on Griffin’s arm to get him to stand, and multiple witnesses saw Griffin then swing his arm at the deputy’s head. The department says the deputy put both hands Griffin to try to bring him under control, and they both lost their balance and fell.

That’s when the sheriff’s office says other deputies stepped in to help, and they eventually placed Griffin in handcuffs “to prevent the juvenile from any further similar actions.” They took him to the floral hall area of the fairgrounds and toward the exit. The news release says a family member of Griffin’s was able to calm him down, the deputy removed the handcuffs, and the family member took the teen away from the fair.

What happens next?

Although the internal investigation is complete, it may not be the final investigation into the incident.

After Hill told the sheriff’s office she believed her son was assaulted by the deputy and she intended to have him criminally charged, the department says Sheriff Matt Carter encouraged her to contact the Kentucky State Police to investigate.

The sheriff’s office says Hill also went to County Attorney Sam Clymer’s office seeking to initiate criminal charges, and Clymer reached out to KSP to request an investigation.

Speaking to Local 6 Friday, Carter says he fully supports Clymer’s request, and he supports an outside agency looking into what happened. But, as far as he is concerned, Carter says his deputies followed department policy.

Local 6 reached out to KSP, and a spokesman confirms that the agency received Clymer’s request and sent it to its legal department for review. The spokesman says KSP did turn down an initial request for an investigation that Carter made himself.

You can read the full news release from the McCracken County sheriff’s Department about the internal investigation below this story. To read Hill and Griffin’s account of what happened, visit: