Former Colbert County deputy indicted for assault

TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) – A former Colbert County deputy has been charged with second-degree assault in connection with an incident in which he allegedly used excessive force.

Colbert County Sheriff Eric Balentine told News 19 that Eric Puryear was charged with using excessive force twice in 2022. The first incident happened on February 23 and the second on February 17. December.

Balentine said he was made aware of the situation shortly after he took office on January 17. The Colbert County Sheriff’s Office opened an internal investigation, and Puryear was fired less than a week later.

“We reviewed all of the body camera footage,” Balentine said. “It was not favorable for this MP. It was clear to us that he violated 7 departmental policies and we needed to act as soon as possible.

In the first incident, Puryear allegedly used excessive force to detain 50-year-old Robert Hand after responding to a report from a suspicious man on County Line Road.

Puryear went to Colbert County Jail and was later released on $7,500 bond.

Balentine later said it was important for him to fix the issue and end Puryear quickly after learning of the situation.

“It’s about being transparent and letting our citizens know that we don’t condone certain types of behavior, and this is one of those incidents and we’ve dealt with it accordingly in my view.”


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