Two Whitfield jailers resign, GBI investigating incident at jail

Two Whitfield County Sheriff's Office detention officers have resigned, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating an April 14 incident at the Whitfield County jail during which the officers repeatedly struck a handcuffed man who was being booked into the jail, according to an incident report.

Aaron Cody Pass, 29, of Dalton, was being booked into the jail around 10:56 p.m. on charges of simple assault (family violence) and trespassing, according to the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office incident report.

"During the COVID questionnaire Officer Styles asked inmate Pass the COVID questions to which inmate Pass stated he did not know," the report said. "During the initial pat down Officer Styles asked inmate Pass if he had anything on his person that could poke, stab, harm the booking staff. At this time Sgt. Almon stepped down off the platform to assist Officer Styles. Inmate Pass stated he did not know and that staff could find out about everything that was on his person during the pat down."

A sheriff's office official identified Styles as Nathanael Styles and Almon as Orlando Almon, who is listed as the shift commander in the report.

The report said during the pat down Pass "became belligerent and aggressive towards booking staff. While trying to calm inmate Pass down, inmate Pass looked at Sgt. Almon and told him that he needed to shut up because he had the right to do so. Sgt. Almon attempted to redirect inmate Pass' thought process during this time to calm inmate Pass down. Inmate Pass told Sgt. Almon to take his mask down multiple times to which Sgt. Almon replied no and concurrently while this was happening inmate Pass blew a kiss at Sgt. Almon.

"When this occurred Officer Styles thought that inmate Pass had spit at Sgt. Almon so he placed him on the counter to gain compliance. Inmate Pass was escorted to the padded cell by Officer Styles, Sgt. Almon and Sgt. Brown."

Brown was identified as James Brown.

The report said Pass was told to "go to the ground to which he did not comply with."

Almon and Styles "attempted to perform a leg sweep which proved ineffective so Sgt. Brown pulled up on inmate Pass' legs thus causing him to fold at the waist. While this was occurring Officer Styles believed that inmate Pass was actively resisting prior to going to the ground. While on the ground inmate Pass kept clinching up and being uncooperative, so Officer Styles provided several blows to inmate Pass' side to gain compliance. Sgt. Almon told inmate Pass to stop moving and resisting and Sgt. Almon delivered nine blows to the left side of inmate Pass' head since that was the only part of inmate Pass' body which Sgt. Almon was able to strike to attempt to gain compliance because of the position that inmate Pass was laying in."

The report said Almon removed Pass' sweat pants and "tossed them out of the padded cell to be checked later" to be sure nothing had been missed during the pat down.

"After this inmate Pass started to comply with all verbal commands and booking staff were able to remove the cuffs from inmate Pass without further incident," the report said.

According to the report, around 11:31 p.m. jail staff asked Pass if he needed medical attention. "Pass did not state anything."

Sheriff's Office Capt. Paul Woods said Thursday that Almon and Styles resigned but referred further questions to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. A phone message left at the GBI's Calhoun office was not immediately returned Thursday afternoon.

Sheriff Scott Chitwood did not immediately return a telephone message Thursday afternoon.

Phone numbers for Pass, Almon and Styles could not be found.

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