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​Parents of victim of I-85 incident outraged – Newnan Times-Herald

​Parents Of Victim Of I-85 Incident Outraged - Newnan Times-Herald

The Newnan Times-Herald

Chase Alan Sherman

  • ​Parents Of Victim Of I-85 Incident Outraged - Newnan Times-Herald
  • ​Parents Of Victim Of I-85 Incident Outraged - Newnan Times-Herald

When Mary Ann Sherman called 911 on Nov. 20 because her son Chase, 32, was having a psychotic breakdown while traveling on Interstate 85 as they headed home to Destin, Fla., she was wanting emergency personnel to help him.

The family didn t expect that their son would die that night, after being tased multiple times by Coweta County sheriff s deputies who were trying to subdue him. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is handling the investigation. Chase had been lying in the backseat of the rented Jeep Patriot, an SUV similar to a Jeep Cherokee. He had his head on his father s lap.

He was seat-belted in; he couldn t get out. And they couldn t just let him be and let him calm down, said Chase s father, Kevin Sherman. They treated my son like a piece of meat.

Those officers just went nuts. My wife told him we just need some assistance. Help us, he said.

We re just super, super angry, besides being heartbroken, Mary Ann Sherman added.

The Shermans and Chase Sherman s fianc e, Patti Galloway, had just returned from a family vacation to the Dominican Republic. They had a two-and-a-half hour layover at Hartsfield-Jackson before they were supposed to catch a plane home to Destin, where the family owns and operates a parasailing company and a snorkel and dolphin/sunset cruise tour business. Chase Sherman was a boat captain. Chase started acting strangely, according to his parents, while they were still at the airport waiting on their flight. He had gotten through customs just fine, but then he started hallucinating. Galloway told Chase’s parents that he may have smoked Spice before they d gone on the five-day trip. Spice is one of many names for a lab-created drug also known as synthetic marijuana. It was made illegal in Georgia a few years ago after a Fayette County teen died after smoking it, but that didn t get rid of the drug. Manufacturers frequently tweak the chemical makeup to avoid state regulations.

Chase got nervous about planes crashing, and he just didn t feel comfortable on a plane. And we didn’t want to get on an airplane and have a scene, so we decided to rent a car and drive home, Kevin Sherman said.

As we were going through the baggage claim, we were having problems with Chase. He thought nobody recognized him. I said, Chase, we re fine. We re going to get a car and drive home. He didn t know where he was at. They located airport security and asked for assistance. Two Atlanta Police officers came and talked to Chase, and accompanied the family as Kevin Sherman went to pick up the rental Jeep.

Chase was hallucinating to them, but it was no big deal to them, Kevin Sherman said. While he was getting the vehicle, Chase got into one of the police officer s face or knocked one of his ear buds off. The police officer actually put him to the ground. Why they didn t help us then, I don t know.

We got him in the car and we took off on I-85. Chase s fianc e was driving and Chase was lying in the back with me. He had his head on my lap. He acted like he didn t know where we were going. And then he jumped up and started a disturbance in the car. They pulled over and Mary Ann dialed 911. And I told her to hang up, that I think we were fine, Kevin Sherman said. Galloway started driving again but a few minutes later he got more violent and Mary Ann Sherman again called 911.

We were fighting, screaming, trying to calm him down. It was pretty horrendous in the car, Kevin Sherman said. His fianc e jumped back to try to calm him down and she actually got bit. My wife told me just to hit him or something to try to get her arm loose. He let loose of the arm and the officers showed up.

Chase had been trying to jump out of the car and go across traffic. We just wanted him to be restrained so we could get some help.”

When the three deputies arrived, they reached across me trying to get the handcuffs on him. I got out of the car and they told me to go back by the ambulance. He says he witnessed one deputy shoot Chase with a taser. Mary Ann Sherman was still in the vehicle. She says she heard one deputy tell Chase, We re going to shoot you.

She said, Don t shoot him, don t shoot him, Kevin Sherman added. The deputy told her, I have to protect myself. By this time, Kevin said he d already seen the deputies tase Chase twice.

The Shermans maintain that the deputies were never in any danger. Their son didn t have any weapons. If officers had felt threatened they could have simply stepped away from the vehicle and shut the door. Deputies told Mary Ann and Galloway to get out of the vehicle. Mary Ann Sherman said that by the time she got out of the vehicle, deputies already had handcuffs on Chase.

More officers kept coming and we think they kept tasing him, Kevin Sherman said. They were treating him like a rabid dog. An ambulance had arrived at the same time the deputies did. The EMTs just stood there, about a car length back, he said. When emergency medical responders arrive at a scene that is deemed to be unsafe, we are taught to step back until law enforcement can render the scene safe, said Assistant Chief Jeff Denney of the Coweta County Fire Department.

As they watched, the Shermans and Galloway saw the deputies grab his two front arms and they dragged him out of the car like a dead dog. His head hit the ground. He was done. There was no movement, no nothing. We were screaming, They killed him.

I think they knew he was done, Kevin Sherman said. They wouldn t let us up there. The family wanted to go to the hospital but they kept us there for over an hour, Kevin Sherman said. They were told they needed to be interviewed. The Shermans and Galloway sat in one of the patrol cars. It was not an hour, according to Sheriff Mike Yeager, though it might have seemed that long to the Shermans. The deputies had to get a statement from every person, then the Shermans were allowed to leave. It s important to get statements just as an incident unfolds, he said.

Deputies then took the family to Piedmont Newnan Hospital. When they told the person at the front desk who they were there to see, a security guard came out and led them to a room.

He said, I m sorry for your loss, Kevin Sherman said. Mary Ann Sherman said one deputy asked her some questions. I can t remember what I asked him. All he answered was: We had to protect ourselves. Deputies have to make split-second decisions, Yeager said. In the 911 call, this woman is yelling he s going to kill us, hit him in the head, hit him in the stomach. What are we supposed to do?

Because the incident happened on the interstate amid traffic, officers had to worry whether Chase Sherman would get out and possibly run into traffic causing accidents that could injure others.

There s a lot going on here that officers have to make decisions on. The number one decision was to try to keep him contained inside that vehicle they had to do all they could to ensure not only the other families safety but also the EMTs and officers safety in keeping that guy contained and not where he could get out and cause more mayhem, the sheriff said.

You can play What if? 100 different times, Yeager said. The GBI will be conducting== a thorough investigation and we ve got to wait until we get it back.

We would love to tell our story but unfortunately we can t, Yeager said. I m sorry the family had to go through this. It is something the police didn t start these officers did everything they could do to get this person subdued, to get this individual to the hospital to get him the help that he possibly needed. People don t realize the number of calls the sheriff s office gets that involve mental health issues, Yeager said. It s daily. Nobody hears about those where we can successfully talk somebody down. In most cases, the public is satisfied with the assistance the CCSO is able to provide, Yeager said.

I ve lost all faith in this judicial system, Kevin Sherman said. I can t believe he ll never come back to us. This kid was loved by everybody. He was no threat. He wasn t a druggie. He was a clean-cut kid. Representatives from the GBI interviewed the family at the hospital. They were very nice people, Kevin Sherman said. I really don t know what is going to take place, he said, but they need to be brought to justice. You don t treat people like that.

You don t repeatedly tase somebody, Mary Ann Sherman said.

Yeager said that, from what he understands, Sherman was tased once and then grabbed the taser and shot it, almost striking a deputy. Sherman was also dry tased. A taser shoots its prongs only once before it has to be loaded with a new cartridge but can dry tase when it is touched against someone. Yeager said that he is still reviewing the footage from the body cameras that each deputy wears. Chase was a very strong kid, but laying down in the seat belt … come on, his father said. “With three guys on you? Come on. And to keep pushing the taser in you? Come on.”

About three years ago, Chase had experienced a strange episode of paranoia, according to his parents. But nothing like this. He never tried to hurt anybody. He was not combative, his mother said. And it went away.

On the trip, he had a few problems on and off he thought he saw the same people in different locations, Kevin Sherman said. At the time, they chalked it up to the islanders looking similar and wearing similar clothes.

It was only about 15 minutes before time to board the plane home that Chase started acting strange, according to his parents.

I told my husband I just think he d be better if we didn t get him on a plane. He d be better if we just drove him home. Maybe he would feel safer, Mary Ann Sherman said.

Kevin Sherman said if he d known then what would happen, we would have put him on the plane and taken our chances.”

Planned Parenthood attack highlights history of violence and also renewed …

  • Planned Parenthood Attack Highlights History Of Violence And Also Renewed ...

    Police investigate at a Planned Parenthood clinic and area around the building north of a strip mall early Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in northwest Colorado Springs, Colo. A gunman who opened fire inside a Planned Parenthood clinic was arrested Friday after engaging in gun battles with authorities during an hourslong standoff that killed three people and wounded nine others, officials said. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Planned Parenthood Attack Highlights History Of Violence And Also Renewed ...

    Police investigate at a Planned Parenthood clinic and area around the building north of a strip mall early Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in northwest Colorado Springs, Colo. A gunman who opened fire inside a Planned Parenthood clinic was arrested Friday after engaging in gun battles with authorities during an hourslong standoff that killed three people and wounded nine others, officials said. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

LOS ANGELES The fatal shootings at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic are the latest in a long history of violence at clinics that provide abortions and doctors who perform the procedure. Police aren’t saying what motivated this most recent shooting. The attack comes as the nonprofit endures criticism from anti-abortion lawmakers and renewed protests outside clinics since a group of abortion opponents released videos they claimed showed the organization negotiating fetal tissue sales.

WHAT ARE THE ORIGINS OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD? Planned Parenthood has been a polarizing organization ever since its precursor, a clinic in Brooklyn, New York, was founded in 1916 by pioneering birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger. It provides a range of health services including cancer screenings, testing for HIV and contraception but its role as the No. 1 abortion provider in the United States has for many years made it the focus of violence, boycotts, protests and attempted sting operations by anti-abortion activists.

WHAT VIOLENCE HAVE ABORTION CLINICS OR PROVIDERS FACED? Since 1977, there have been 8 murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings and 186 arsons and thousands of other incidents, including vandalism, according to the National Abortion Foundation, a trade group for abortion providers. In December 1994, two receptionists were murdered at Planned Parenthood clinics in Brookline, Massachusetts, and five other people were wounded. The convicted gunman, John Salvi, was later found dead in prison of an apparent suicide.

Before Friday, the most recent killing happened in 2009 in a Wichita, Kansas, church where Dr. George Tiller, who performed late-term abortions, was slain while serving as an usher. He had been shot in a previous attack years earlier. Planned Parenthood clinics in New Hampshire, Southern California and Washington have been targeted by vandals and arsonists since a new wave of anti-abortion protests began this summer. WHY HAS PLANNED PARENTHOOD FACED RENEWED CRITICISM?

The campaign against Planned Parenthood has intensified since July, when anti-abortion activists who posed as representatives of a biomedical firm began releasing a series of undercover videos. They sought to negotiate the purchase of fetal organs from Planned Parenthood personnel. Planned Parenthood has denied seeking any payments beyond legally permitted reimbursement of the costs for donating the organs to researchers. Citing the videos, Republicans in Congress have been seeking to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and the organization has been investigated by several GOP-led committees. Additionally, several states where Republicans hold power have sought to block Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.

The efforts have shown no sign of easing. Yet to move into high gear is a recently formed House investigative committee, led by some of the most staunch abortion opponents in Congress, which is expected to focus its work on Planned Parenthood. WHAT IMPACT HAVE THE VIDEOS HAD AT COLORADO CLINICS? One of the videos released by the California-based Center for Medical Progress showed Dr. Savita Ginde, vice president of Denver-based Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, discussing prices of aborted fetal remains, the center said. Planned Parenthood said that video and the others were misleading and deceptively edited.

Since the videos began airing, threats against abortion clinics nationwide have spiked, said Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation.

“The noise level out there about Planned Parenthood has been high, and it’s been hateful the last several months,” said Vicki Cowart, CEO and president of the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. There have been more protesters targeting Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, which includes the Colorado Springs clinic, and one of its doctors has been the subject of death threats, Saporta said. WHAT KIND OF SECURITY DOES THE COLORADO SPRINGS CLINIC HAVE?

The gunman broke into the clinic after a security guard had finished his shift, but staff followed safety plans perfectly, which probably saved many lives, Cowart said. A receptionist, who heard gunfire outside the building Friday, alerted others to keep away. The suspect broke in to the reception area, but was stopped by a locked door leading to the main part of the clinic. Staff followed protocol to hide in locked rooms in the center of the clinic during a standoff that lasted about five hours.

The facility had live security cameras that allowed Planned Parenthood to share information with police about what was happening inside.

Cowart dismissed the suggestion of installing metal detectors at the clinic, saying: “Nobody deserves to walk through a metal detector to access health care.”

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Crary reported from New York.

Ansonia honors missile site servicemen

Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Hearst Connecticut Media

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Veterans who served at Connecticut’s Nike missile sites gather for a dedication ceremony for a monument to mark the location of Ansonia’s former Nike missile site Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. Veterans who served at Connecticut’s Nike missile sites gather for a dedication ceremony for a monument to mark the location of Ansonia’s former Nike missile site Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015.

Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Hearst Connecticut Media

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Jim Mansfield, of Colchester, originally from Milford, attends a dedication ceremony for a monument to mark the location of Ansonia’s former Nike missile site Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. Mansfield, a veteran of the Army National Guard, was stationed at the site when it was in operation during the Cold War.

Jim Mansfield, of Colchester, originally from Milford, attends a dedication ceremony for a monument to mark the location of Ansonia’s former Nike missile site Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. Mansfield, a veteran of

Mayor David Cassetti shakes hands with veteran Eric Muth, of Milford, after unveiling a monument to mark the location of Ansonia s former Nike missile site on Saturday. Mayor David Cassetti shakes hands with veteran Eric Muth, of Milford, after unveiling a monument to mark the location of Ansonia s former Nike missile site on Saturday.

Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Hearst Connecticut Media

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Army Veterans Jim Rogers, of Derby, left, and Jim Mills, of Ansonia, talk about their time stationed at Ansonia’s former Nike missile site during the Cuban Missile Crisis while they attend a dedication ceremony for a monument to mark the location of the site Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015.

Army Veterans Jim Rogers, of Derby, left, and Jim Mills, of Ansonia, talk about their time stationed at Ansonia’s former Nike missile site during the Cuban Missile Crisis while they attend a dedication ceremony

Jim Mansfield, of Colchester, originally from Milford, attends a dedication ceremony for a monument to mark the location of Ansonia’s former Nike missile site Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. Jim Mansfield, of Colchester, originally from Milford, attends a dedication ceremony for a monument to mark the location of Ansonia’s former Nike missile site Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015.

Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Hearst Connecticut Media

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Veteran Albert Baldieri speaks during a dedication ceremony for a monument to mark the location of Ansonia’s former Nike missile site Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. Veteran Albert Baldieri speaks during a dedication ceremony for a monument to mark the location of Ansonia’s former Nike missile site Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015.

Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Hearst Connecticut Media

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A monument to mark the location of Ansonia’s former Nike missile site is unveiled Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. A monument to mark the location of Ansonia’s former Nike missile site is unveiled Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015.

Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Hearst Connecticut Media

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Ansonia honors missile site servicemen

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ANSONIA Today, it s just a quiet neighborhood filled with rows of raised ranches, sitting atop well-manicured lawns lining streets bearing names of city leaders like Sobin Drive, Krueger Court and Rev. Taylor Drive[3]. But 50 years ago, those houses and streets did not exist. Where the lawns are now stood a forest filled with trees and shrubs providing perfect cover for what lay behind and below 18 armed nuclear missiles posed to annihilate any incoming swarm of Soviet bombers.

It was during the Cold War fueled by a Soviet premier who threatened to bury the United States, missiles in Cuba threatening the country, and buildings like the Ansonia Savings bank[4] on Main Street equipped with a basement fallout shelter to protect citizens. Strategically based about 16 miles between defense factories in Bridgeport and New Haven, the Ansonia Nike site was what Mayor David Cassetti[5] called America s last line of defense against Soviet bombers targeting East Coast defense facilities. On Saturday, Cassetti unveiled two plaques recognizing the U.S. Army[6] soldiers and Connecticut National Guard[7]smen who manned the site for 14 years. The plaques were attached to a huge rock, uncovered by Carmen Pitney[8] of the Department of Public Works[9], which sits at the former entrance to the site s command center on Ford Street.

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Nike site history

July 8, 1955 As talks of peace turn cold, the U.S. Army announces plans to build a missile defense site in Ansonia. This Nike site consists of radars and computers in a fire-control area on Ford Street and missile launching pads with underground elevators on Osborne Lane. Dec. 11, 1955 U.S. Army purchases 81.9 acres of land.

1956 First missile launch elevators arrive. Feb. 25, 1956 The government takes 4.5 acres from the Ansonia Airport to construct military housing.

May 1958 The first Hercules nucleur missiles arrive

Oct. 14-28, 1962 Site is placed on high alert and personnel called to full battle station during Cuban missile crisis.

1963 Connecticut National Guard technicians beginning training on the site. The following year, D-Battery, First Battalion 192nd Artillery Division of the National Guard takes over. Nov. 22, 1963 Site placed on high alert for possible foreign attack following assasination of President John F. Kennedy. Nov. 9, 1965 Site placed on high alert and personnel called to battle stations during the Northeast blackout.

June 1971 The Ansonia site is decommissioned; the development of intercontinental missiles made it obsolete. The launching pads for the missiles stored underground lay a short distance away on Osborne Lane[10]. Nearly 70 people braved the chilly late morning showers and attended the dedication arranged by Aldermen Patrick Henri[11] and David Blackwell[12] Jr., and Albert Baldieri[13], who spent five years assigned to the site.

This means a lot to the men who served here, said Baldieri, of Monroe. The veterans of the Nike program are lost in history. We served very silently and were not allowed to talk about anything we did here.

One plaque reminded all that during the 13-day Cuban missile crisis the site s battle stations were manned around the clock in defense of this nation.

Those were some shaky times, said Jim Mills[14], now 78, a U.S. Army sergeant stationed at the site from 1957 to 1962. You stayed on alert all day, every day. We had a crew always ready to fire.

All the missiles were up and armed, added Jim Mansfield[15], who was at the Milford Nike site at the time of the crisis and later transferred to Ansonia. No one wanted to hear the code word to launch. At the time, Milford was armed with the nearly obsolete Ajax missiles, which Mills said had an 80-mile range and could take out two to three bombers. Mansfield recalled sitting at the Milford site s console and warning everyone around to roll back in their chairs and not get anywhere near the (firing) switch.

Some 15 miles away, Ansonia was equipped with 18 Hercules nuclear missiles which, when fired, could travel over 150 miles and be effective against a half-dozen bombers.

If you weren t on duty, you were resting in the underground bomb shelter waiting to relieve someone, said Leonard Bendetto[16], a state National Guard sergeant and trained medic. However, the missile crisis wasn t the only high-alert situation. Kennedy s assassination in Dallas, Texas, also brought fears of a foreign attack.

Richard DiDente was an Army corporal in charge of security at that time. He oversaw four handlers who walked the perimeter of the Ford Avenue Fire Control Area, where the radar and computers were based.

It was a pretty somber time, he said. We were on alert for about 48 hours. Then came Nov. 9, 1965 the night the lights went out, darkening the entire East Coast and Canada for some 13 hours. People were trapped in subways, on elevators and in airports.

We were probably the only place in Ansonia that had lights, said Benedetto.

There were all kinds of stories going around, from Russian sabotage to a flying saucer attack, said Baldieri. We had to stay on site the whole time on full alert. All the missiles were brought up and armed. In the end, it was neither Martians nor the Russians, but simple human error that left 800,000 people in eight states and Canada in the dark.

At least 100 men manned the site 365 days a year, seven days a week and 24 hours a day.

We were all cross-trained and took our job seriously, said Benedetto. We missed holidays, birthdays and family time. He said some days involved performing his medic duties, then running a security check, operating radar and finally serving as a waiter for dinner. When the Nike site was shut down in May 1971, Benedetto was among the last to leave.

It was sad, very sad, he said.

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