By Joe Johnson
An Athens-Clarke County police officer who was arrested two months ago for a family violence incident has been formally accused of four misdemeanor charges stemming from that incident that involved his children’s mother.
According to an accusation filed May 7 in State Court, 26-year-old Sadiki Kamau McBarnette is charged with simple battery, disorderly conduct and criminal trespass to property.
McBarnette was immediately placed on paid leave after the incident, but he has since returned to work in an administrative capacity, according to Lt. Shaun Barnett, ACCPD’s public information officer.
He faces an internal investigation to determine if the officer violated any policies or the department's code of conduct.
“Officer McBarnette’s internal investigation is still pending,” said Sgt. Stewart K. Heard of the Office of Professional Standards. “He is currently assigned TAA (Temporary Alternate Assignment) until further notice from the chief.”
According to a police incident report, officers responded the afternoon of March 22 to McBarnette’s home on Fitzroy Drive on a report by a 25-year-old woman that McBarnette had assaulted her during an argument.
The woman said she moved out of the home several days earlier and had returned so that her two children could see their father, according to the report, which noted the woman also went to pick up clothing for the kids.
An argument reportedly ensued after the woman used her phone to take video of “a lot of new things” that McBarnette had purchased.
“She began to record these items on her phone as she believes (McBarnette) complains about not having money all the time but only spends it on himself and not the kids,” according to the report.
After washing some of the children's clothing, she and McBarnette got into an argument in which he allegedly grabbed the woman’s arm and dragged her into the garage and later deleted the videos on her phone, which also included a recording of the argument, according to the report.
When an officer interviewed him, McBarnette reportedly said that the argument had been about the items the woman had videoed and also about her being with another man over the weekend.
He admitted to grabbing the woman to “pull/escort her to the door and then into the garage,” according to the report.
In charging McBarnette with simple battery, Athens-Clarke County Solicitor General C.R. Chisholm stated in the accusation he filed in State Court last week that the officer assaulted the woman “by grabbing and dragging her out of the house."
According to the police report, McBarnette “stated he made a bad decision in deleting the video of the items she recorded when she first got to the house,” and “when asked about the videos no longer being in (the phone’s) trash bin he says he had not done anything with that and they should still be in the trash bin.”
Though McBarnette, employed as an ACCPD officer since May 2019, had graduated from the police academy, he was still under the supervision of a veteran field training officer at the time of his arrest.
Barnett said the new officer training program for McBarnette had been interrupted when he was deployed by the military.
Freed from jail on his own recognizance, McBarnette is scheduled to be arraigned on May 27.
While his case is pending in court, Judge Charles Auslander III ordered the officer to obey certain restrictions, including not possessing any firearms, and that the guns he did have at home be stored at his mother’s house in a safe for which only she and his attorney can know the combination or access code.