By Larry Stanford & Shirley Russell
June 21, 2014
Thomaston Police Chief Dan Greathouse has requested that the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) conduct a review of an incident on June 11 in which Officer Phillip Tobin tasered Kelcey Rockemore. Thomaston Police Lieutenant Andrew Pippin issued the following release on Wednesday, June 18, 2014:
“This release is to address the recent incident involving the arrest of Kelcey Rockemore by Thomaston Police Department Investigator Phillip Tobin that occurred at the Handy Mart Grocery located at 204 East Walker Street in Thomaston, Georgia on June 11, 2014. Officer Tobin was attempting to make contact with Kelcey Rockemore at this location, due to a complaint from the store’s manager alleging Rockemore attempting to sell narcotics to other employees while inside the store, and threats made to the management of the Handy Mart. While Officer Tobin was attempting to speak with Rockemore about the criminal trespass issue, Officer Tobin attempted to conduct a pat down to ensure his safety while confronting him of this ban notice. Rockemore pulled away from the Officer Tobin. During this time a taser was used on Rockemore by Officer Tobin and Rockemore was placed under arrest for obstruction of an officer.
“On June 17, WXGA-TV in Macon sent reporter Noell Sauders to the Thomaston Police Department to obtain an interview and to indicate that she talked to people in the community and that she had information that Investigator Phillip Tobin had committed violations of City policy and Georgia Law pertaining to the arrest of Kelcey Rockemore. Based on the complaint Chief Dan Greathouse of the Thomaston Police Department turned over this incident to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Region 2 on June 17, 2014 for a review and asked an investigation be conducted pertaining to the incident.
“The Thomaston Police Department is committed to excellence in law enforcement and is dedicated to the people in the City of Thomaston. In order to protect life and property, prevent crime and reduce the fear of crime, we will provide service with understanding, response with compassion, performance with integrity and law enforcement.”
In response to the incident, several community activists organized a rally Wednesday night at St. Mary’s A.M.E. Church at which an estimated 300 people attended. A petition was passed around calling for the firing of Officer Tobin, and a march was set for Friday. Marchers were to meet at St. Mary’s, and they will march to the Thomaston Police Department to talk to Police Chief Dan Greathouse. No time for the march was given at the meeting. Organizers also are encouraging people to attend the first Thomaston City Council meeting in July, which will be on July 15, since the council at their Tuesday meeting cancelled the July 1 meeting due to it being the week of July 4th.