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Augusta, GA

3 more Richmond County lawmen arrested over use of force at jail

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3 more Richmond County lawmen arrested over use of force at jail


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Three more lawmen were arrested Monday, joining two Richmond County Sheriff’s Office investigators arrested Friday after an incident that happened nearly two years ago.

On Thursday, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs Division was made aware of an incident that occurred May 7, 2022, at the Charles B. Webster Detention Center between deputies and inmates where deputies responded to a call for assistance regarding unruly inmates.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office says after review of body camera and surveillance videos, it was determined that the amount of force used in response to the call was unnecessary.

On Friday, officials said Johnny Atkinson, 45, was charged with one count of aggravated assault, one count of battery and violation of oath of a public officer. Austin Birch, 27, was charged with one count of battery and violation of oath of a public officer.

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Both were booked into the Charles B. Webster Detention Center, according to the sheriff’s agency. They were later terminated.

On Monday, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division charged Cpl. Daniel D’Aversa and Deputy Dantavion Jones with one count of battery (misdemeanor) and violation of oath of a public officer (felony) in connection with the incident.

They were booked into jail.

Retired jail Lt. John Whitaker was also charged with one count of aggravated assault (felony), one count of battery (misdemeanor) and violation of oath of a public officer. He was also booked into jail.

D’Aversa began his employment with the agency on July 29, 2006, and Jones began his employment on June 21, 2018. D’Aversa was most recently assigned to the Charles B. Webster Detention Center.

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Jones was assigned to the Road Patrol Division. At the time of the incident, D’Aversa and Jones were both assigned to the Road Patrol Division.

Their employment with the agency was terminated Monday.

Officials say Atkinson began his employment with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office on June 20, 2018. Birch began his employment with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office on July 13, 2019.

Both were recently assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division, but at the time of the incident, they were assigned to the Road Patrol Division, the sheriff’s office says.

From left: Austin Birch, 27, and Johnny Atkinson, 45(wrdw)
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Augusta, GA

City of Augusta speaks out after vandals damage 5th Street pedestrian bridge

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City of Augusta speaks out after vandals damage 5th Street pedestrian bridge


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) –
UPDATE: The City of Augusta is responding to the damage left behind by vandals on the 5th Street pedestrian bridge.

The city confirms it is assessing the damage and the best course of action to take to remove the graffiti after vandals damaged the 5th Street pedestrian bridge.

The city’s statement said Augusta’s Engineering and Environmental Services Department was made aware of the vandalism on Tuesday, February 27 after a routine inspection of the Freedom Bridge. 

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The 5th Street pedestrian bridge has graffiti all over parts of the bridge. You can smiley faces and other things spray painted on flower pots.

We reached out to the city for comment, but have not heard back. No word on how long clean up will take or who did this to the bridge

The bridge opened in 2022. As of now, the bridge is still open.

COPYRIGHT 2024 WFXG. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.



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Augusta, GA

FOX54 Mornings: Lace up and get ready for the third annual Run the Runway 5K at Augusta Regional Airport

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FOX54 Mornings: Lace up and get ready for the third annual Run the Runway 5K at Augusta Regional Airport


Saturday, March. 16, you can take off without ever leaving the ground. Augusta Regional Airport at Bush Field is welcoming back its Run the Runway event for a third year.

The 5K is family-friendly and will serve as a sanctioned race.  It’s also a fundraiser for an organization called America’s Warrior Partnership, an organization that helps prevent Veteran suicide.



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Augusta, GA

Help Augusta veterans by becoming a volunteer driver for VA

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Help Augusta veterans by becoming a volunteer driver for VA


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – The Augusta area is home to over 66,000 veterans, and for some, making it to doctors’ appointments could be more of a task than a simple visit.

Since 1987, Disabled American Veterans departments and chapters have donated 3,763 vehicles and Ford Motor Company has donated 264 vehicles to help volunteers get to their appointments.

Retired Marine veteran Ric Morrow knows all too well how important the program is.

After retiring from serving our country, he continued his service by helping veterans as a volunteer driver for Disabled American Veterans medical transport service at VA Augusta.

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He says he’s been doing it for 11 years.

“I love doing it. It gives me the opportunity to pay it forward to other veterans,” he said.

It’s a service between 800 to 1,000 veterans depend on every year to get to and from their healthcare appointments at the VA.

“There’s so many folks that just don’t have their own transportation so they don’t have the opportunity to take advantage of the medical care that they have without having to pay for their own transportation to get to and from appointments,” said Morrow.

Right now, they’re working with only 11 volunteers, and they say they need your help.

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Hospital Service Coordinator at VA Augusta, Emma Brown, said: “The need is great. We need drivers badly. Please come and join DAV transportation because what you get at the end, it’s amazing. You get a family.”

Your service is in exchange for those who served our country.

Morrow said: “It’s fulfilling for me. It’s just that I’m actually doing and I’m paying it forward to other veterans.”

You can pay it forward too.

To sign up, call Brown at (706) 733-0188, extension 27256.

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Volunteer drivers have to have a valid driver’s license, a good driving record, pass a physical exam, have the ability to conduct simple pre-operation vehicle checks and attend a defensive driver training course provided by VA Augusta.

Drivers get free breakfast and lunch meal tickets during their time volunteering.



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