Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

COP'S ACTIONS QUESTIONED; Family: Officer Chasing Suspect Was 'Out of Control' Mom Feared 6-Year-Old Son Would Be Pepper-Sprayed; Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Has Begun Investigation

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

COP'S ACTIONS QUESTIONED; Family: Officer Chasing Suspect Was 'Out of Control' Mom Feared 6-Year-Old Son Would Be Pepper-Sprayed; Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Has Begun Investigation

Article excerpt

Byline: DANA TREEN

A Jacksonville family that has been part of the sheriff's citizens advisory council for a decade is now in an opposite corner after filing a complaint against an officer they said was "out of control" Tuesday when he chased a suspect into their Springfield house for using racial slurs.

Karla Crawford said she was startled and scared Officer G.E. Weber would harm her 6-year-old son when Weber got inside the house. She said her son, Zachary, was walking down the stairs to the foyer and could have been pepper-sprayed or worse.

"My first reaction was they will go in and shoot my son," she said. "That's what upset us, the recklessness of the whole thing."

Crawford said she and her family have been members of the neighborhood Sheriff's Advisory Council that aims to decrease crime by alerting the Sheriff's Office of problems and working as partners and supporters of officers in that police zone.

"This is hard for me, because I am always backing them," she said.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Lt. Mike Williams said he has begun an investigation into the complaint but has not yet interviewed officers involved. Williams is one of Weber's supervisors.

Crawford and her daughter, Mia, 26, filed the complaint with the Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, a day after they said Weber chased James McNair Jr., 33, inside the house and beat him with a baton. McNair has been working on a restoration at the Crawfords' three-story house and was there with a second worker Tuesday.

The second worker, Donald Graham, 29, who said he witnessed the beating, was also arrested on a charge of resisting arrest.

As McNair was arriving Tuesday at the job in the 100 block of West First Street, he got into a dispute with two Community Service officers who were writing parking tickets at West Third and Pearl streets, according to a police report. The report said McNair, who is black, cursed the white officers, calling them "crackers" and "wanna-be" police, and threatened to beat them up before walking a short distance to Crawford's.

Officer Weber was called to the house and wrote that McNair continued to be belligerent and insulting. …

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