Roswell, GA — In April of this year, Roswell Police Chief Rusty Grant handed 'Supervisor of The Year' to Sgt. Daniel Elzey, who, months before, had forced a soaking wet and literally freezing emotionally disturbed 13-year-old boy to sit in the cold for over an hour in an attempt to force him to talk. Only after a local news agency conducted their own investigation months after the cop was given the department's top honor did any of this information come out—despite it all being captured on his body camera.
As 11-Alive ">reports, on one of the coldest nights of the year last January, Sgt. Elzey kept a 13 year old boy in a patrol car with the heat off and all the windows down, after the sergeant was told the boy was 'Code 24' (Emotionally Disturbed). According to body cam audio, the stated goal of freezing the 13-year-old was to get the boy to tell the truth.
Not until July did the public find out about the incident. Now, the public wants to know when chief Grant knew about it and why he awarded this cop who is now a part of a criminal investigation.
The incident began on that cold January night as the teen was seen wearing dark clothes, soaking wet and covered in dirt stiffened by ice. He was driving a golf cart down a Georgia road before being stopped by officers.
When police began to question the boy, he gave them conflicting information which seem to have set them off. Just 6 minutes into the video and the boy is handcuffed and thrown in the back of the cruiser.
“He’s just lying,” one officer said of the boy. “He’s not going to tell you the truth. He hasn’t told you the truth since he met you.”
That's when this supervisor of the year, Sgt. Elzey decided that a little child torture may get the boy to talk. So, he decided to freeze the boy into speaking.
“He won’t say anything if he’s sitting there in the back seat and it’s warm,” Sgt. Elzey is heard saying in footage of the roughly 90-minute ordeal. “So, he can sit over there and be cold.”
Elzey then goes to his own car with the heat blasting as he tells his partner the plan to torture the boy with temperature into talking.
“That's why I rolled your windows down,” he tells Dickerson. “It's fine. Give him a few minutes to think about it. Let him get a little chilly. Maybe that’ll help.”
“All right, partner, what’s your name?” Elzey asked after letting the boy freeze for a while. “Getting cold yet?”
The teen responded that he wasn’t bothered by the tactic, and the officer shot a taunt right back.
“You can take it? Cool. So can I,” he said. “Because I’ve got heat in this car.”
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Eventually, the boy's hands and arms begin to go numb and he breaks down. From the backseat of the car, the boy is heard saying, “I don’t want to go to jail,” “I can’t feel my wrists,” and “I just want to go home.”
Over an hour and a half after the police originally stopped the 13-year-old boy and left him "soaked and freezing" in their squad car, they got in touch with his mother and released him to her.
As the AJC reported at the time, authorities describe the boy as a troublesome teen who constantly frustrates his mother and his two older brothers and has been “suspended several times.”
Conveniently in their report, the officers failed to mention that they intentionally left the boy to freeze in the car.
Four months after the incident, Elzey would receive the department's top honor and three months after that, he'd be suspended pending a criminal investigation—only after local media discovered the incident.
Now, this week, 11-Alive is digging deeper and asking why the chief would award the officer if he knew about freezing the little boy. But the department is being tight-lipped.
"We demanded internal memos that would prove what the chief knew about that incident BEFORE smiling in a photo with his top sergeant," 11-Alive wrote in a Facebook post. "The very next day after our demand for the internal memos, the chief asked the GBI to conduct an outside criminal investigation, and the city attorney has since used the D.A.'s subsequent investigation to keep the memos secret."
When 11-Alive confronted the chief this week, naturally he denied any wrongdoing.
Below is the body camera footage of the officers leaving the boy in the back of the car.
For those who may remember, this is the same department the Free Thought Project reported on earlier this year. The video of that incident was released a few weeks before the video of the 13-year-old boy and was nothing short of infuriating.
Sarah Webb had traveled a little above the speed limit last April when she was targeted for revenue collection by two Roswell officers. During the routine stop, however, the two cops flipped a coin to decide whether or not they would take her to jail. It was tails, so they kidnapped her and threw her in a cage.