Technicality led to officer losing authority to arrest - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Officials: Technicality led to officer losing 'authority to arrest'

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A Grand Jury decided Wednesday not to indict two Port Wentworth Police officers after investigators say they shot Dehsone Travis, 19, in June.

Port Wentworth investigators said the officers had no other choice after Travis tried to run one of the officers over.

In the indictment, Officer Loren Scholes faced a count of "carrying a handgun without a license."

According to Ryan Powell with the Peace Officers Standards and Training Council of Georgia, Officer Scholes was certified at the time of the shooting, but lost his 'authority to arrest' in 2009 when Powell says Scholes did not complete training because of an illness.

"This was a technicality. The agency was doing what they thought they should, but they should have called and checked," Powell said.

Powell says the technicality was corrected shortly after the shooting in 2012.

He says Officer Scholes did not file a waiver in 2009 when he was too ill to complete his training.

Instead, Powell says the officer completed nearly double the amount of training in 2010 thinking that would make up for the lack of training in 2009.

"The intentions were good, but they messed up," Powell said.

Because the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council oversees so many officers in Georgia, they aren't able to warn agencies or officers when there is a deficiency. They say Port Wentworth was quick to fix the problem and ultimately it is the officer's responsiblity.

The Council says they are developing a new computer system that will begin alerting agencies if there is a problem.

WTOC's phone calls to Police Chief Matt Libby were not returned Thursday.

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