GBI requested for use of force investigation after man dies following standoff

Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 12:47 PM EST
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been requested to conduct a use of force investigation after a man died following a standoff in Chatham County.

According to the GBI, preliminary information indicates that at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 13, the Chatham County Police Department and EMS responded to a 911 call about a man in a mental health crisis on Fort Argyle Court.

When first responders arrived at the scene, they encountered 65-year-old Mark McKinley Stanton. According to a news release from the GBI, Stanton became irate, pointed a handgun and threatened to shoot officers if they did not leave.

Officers and the 911 caller left the home and Stanton barricaded himself inside.

Both the Chatham County and Savannah Police Department SWAT teams arrived on scene. Chatham County authorities obtained a search warrant for the home.

According to the news release from the GBI, after continued attempts to contact Stanton were unsuccessful, the SWAT team deployed gas into the home. Stanton fired shots at officers, striking law enforcement vehicles and neighboring houses.

At 8 p.m., the SWAT team entered the home and found Stanton in a bedroom with a gun. Officers report that Stanton refused commands and resisted arrest.

The news release from the GBI said officers used less lethal weapons to gain compliance from Stanton. He was handcuffed and removed from the home.

Shortly after being taken into custody, SWAT members noticed Stanton became unresponsive and attempted to render first aid at the scene.

Stanton was taken to a Savannah hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

The GBI said no officers or civilians were injured during the incident and that no officers fired their weapons.

The GBI Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy on Stanton.

The GBI will conduct an independent investigation of the use of force. When the investigation is complete, it will be turned over to the Eastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for review.

Chatham County Police Department’s Standard Operating Procedures

Following Stanton’s death, the WTOC Investigates team looked into CCPD’s “Standard Operating Procedures.” Specifically, we wanted to know how they are supposed to handle situations involving Use of Force and Crisis Intervention.

According to their policy, Crisis Intervention Officers are supposed to handle calls involving mentally ill people with great sensitivity because violence can occur. Neither CCPD nor the GBI accounts of what happened that day mention whether Crisis Intervention Officers were on scene.

WTOC also followed-up and asked them, but both have said they will not answer the question.

The policy goes on to say if a Crisis Intervention Officer is not available, they should take several extra steps to get someone with that training on-scene to help.

We also looked at the department’s Use of Force policy after they said the man shot at them. Police responded with pepper balls.

It says pepper balls may be used if it is unsafe for officers to approach a subject and also to control a suspect who is trying to assault an officer. It goes on to say that if pepper balls are used, EMS may need to be called, and that the person hit by pepper balls should be monitored closely for adverse reactions.

Click here and here to see the referenced policies from CCPD.