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City releases narrative on Derick Austin arrest

As expected, the City of Barnesville has complied with a request for the officer’s narrative in the Derick Austin traffic stop which The Herald Gazette had correctly argued is an open record. The narrative by officer Freddie Oates is type-written, detailed and lengthy. It notes Oates stopped Austin’s early April 27 truck because the tag light was not operational. Austin stopped on Holmes Street, just off Thomaston Street. Oates wrote, “I noticed the driver’s eyes were glassy and (he) was having a hard time finding where I was standing at. The driver was looking to the left of me as if I was standing far away.” Oates noted a strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle. After verifying Austin’s license, Oates asked him to exit the truck. The report goes to great length describing the roadside sobriety check in which Austin was asked to follow Oates’ fingertip with his eyes, perform a nine-step, heel-to-toe walk and hold one foot off the ground while counting until told to stop. Austin’s eyes did not track and he swayed back and forth, Oates reported. He stumbled during the heel-to-toe walk and lost his balance during the one-foot stand. Austin was then handcuffed and put in the back of Oates’ patrol car. Austin said he would take a breath test. Oates got into Austin’s truck to check for open containers and the truck began to roll. It was out of gear and the parking brake had not been applied. Oates applied the parking brake and turned the vehicle over to Austin’s wife Stephanie who was on the scene. Once at the jail, Austin refused the breathalyzer and was charged with DUI-less safe. The report contains no information indicating that Austin was uncooperative or that Oates had to use force to subdue him. It also makes no mention of any open containers found in the truck. The full narrative is available for inspection at The Herald Gazette office at 509 Greenwood Street.

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