Ed. Note: We are not identifying the victims or alleged victims in this story, particularly because some were or are minors. If you need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or text START to 88788. A resource for men seeking to break the cycle of violence is Men Stopping Violence at 404-270-9894.

10:48 p.m.: ADDS Evans comment; corrects minor typos; 1:27 a.m.: minor edits throughout; CORRECTS error in cutline that Allen hired under Kimbrough; CLARIFIES nolo contendere is not a guilty plea

An Open Records Request filed by The Clayton Crescent with the Georgia Police Officers Standards and Training Council revealed that at least two candidates running for Clayton County Sheriff have records of domestic violence charges. Neither was convicted.

In 2012, Interim Sheriff Levon Allen was charged with domestic violence and that the agency had recommended his law enforcement credential be revoked. Instead, Allen pleaded no contest to two lesser charges nine days after CCSO had hired him to work in the Clayton County Jail and four weeks before former Sheriff Victor Hill took office. Allen also was put on probation, fined $300, and ordered to do 40 hours of community service.

Terry Evans, was served with a temporary protective order in 2003 after allegedly choking a woman at his home and loading his pistol when she threatened to leave him. Evans also was investigated for ripping his ex-wife’s ear during a 2004 custody swap. The 2003 TPO was dropped. A judge found Evans not guilty of family violence/battery and cruelty to children in a bench trial in the 2004 incident. Evans was recommended for public reprimand by Georgia POST, placed on 36 months’ probation, and ordered to complete an alcohol evaluation—three years after the fact.

A third CCSO employee, former jailer Raymon Winn, also was hired at despite a 2012 arrest for punching a man in the nose. Winn’s case was nolle prossed in Fulton County after he finished anger management and community service. One month after he was terminated in 2021, Winn was charged with first-degree cruelty to children and battery-simple/family violence. That case was nolle prossed on December 13.

One of the constitutionally mandated duties of the Clayton County Sheriff is to enforce criminal warrants, including those against alleged and convicted domestic abusers, and temporary protective orders on behalf of domestic violence victims.

What if the deputy responding to your call for help has had the cops called on them?

Hill as “mentor”

Hill, who is Allen’s godfather, has made public statements about his mentorship of Allen and urged citizens to vote for his protege. He has been personally campaigning for Allen, despite federal sentencing at the end of this month for abusing six pretrial detainees in the Clayton County Jail. (Hill’s case is on appeal.)

Two of Hill’s victims include a teenager who had had a meltdown at home and a man who had had a payment dispute with a CCSO deputy. Video introduced into evidence in the U.S. Northern District Court of Georgia in October 2022 showed Allen strapping detainees into chairs at Hill’s order:

Clayton County Sheriff candidate Levon Allen (in red) straps Glenn Howell into a jailhouse restraint chair as former Sheriff Victor Hill (in blue) supervises. Hill faces federal prison time when he is sentenced on February 28, 2023 for violating pretrial detainees’ rights under color of law. Allen was involved in other similar incidents that were part of the case. (Clayton County Jail image)

On October 26, 2022, Hill was convicted on six of seven counts of violating pretrial detainee’s rights under color of law. That same day, Roland Boehrer, who had been serving as both chief deputy and acting sheriff, stepped down as chief deputy and Allen was appointed to that role. Boehrer reportedly was to have retired December 31, 2022, but retired earlier. Allen was quietly sworn in as interim sheriff minutes before the Christmas holiday.

Since then, Hill has made a point on social media of pushing Allen as his chosen heir to the sheriff’s office, personally delivering yard signs for Allen’s campaign, sending out an oversized campaign mailer touting the protege he “groomed,” and posing with Allen under a poster of Marlon Brando as The Godfather.

POST recommended Allen lose certification in 2013

Interim Sheriff Levon Allen campaigns for votes at the 2023 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade in Jonesboro. (Photo: Robin Kemp/The Clayton Crescent)

In the POST case, 006-711-01-13, Chairman of the Probable Cause Committee Michael Nail had recommended on July 18, 2013 that Allen’s POST certification be revoked. POST Council Chairman Mike Yeager also had recommended on September 18, 2013 that Allen’s POST certification be revoked.

Yet on January 15, 2014, POST waived Allen’s revocation, instead retroactively placing him on one year’s suspension dating from October 26, 2012—the same day of his arrest and voluntary resignation from the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office. POST also assessed him $120 for “applicable probation supervision and monitoring costs.”

Freqently, law enforcement officers who face termination for cause may voluntarily resign in order to avoid a black mark on their record, seek employment at another agency, sometimes repeating the process.

Several weeks later, on January 19, 2013, Allen transferred to the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office as a jailer.

On January 28, 2013, Allen pleaded no contest to the two disorderly conduct charges and was sentenced to six months’ probation and no harassing contact. He also was sentenced to 40 hours’ community service and a $300 fine on one of those two counts.

The other five more serious charges, which would have cost him his certification as a law enforcement officer, were nolle prossed.

The incident

Clayton County State Court records show Allen was charged with Battery-Family Violence 1, battery, simple battery/family violence, simple battery, felony cruelty to children, and later, as part of the plea deal, two counts of disorderly conduct.

The case number is 2012CR10147 E and the judge was Morris E. Braswell, who retired in 2016 and died six years ago.

According to POST’s case summary, Allen’s wife had awakened him to “address” feces on the floor of their toddler’s bedroom:

“The Officer woke up the Child to make him/her clean the floor. The Spouse ‘became upset and did not want” the toddler “to pick up the droppings on the floor,” then “attempted to enter the Child’s bedroom and the Officer [Allen] held the door nearly closed. The Spouse ‘began reaching [his/her] arm through a small crack in the door.’ The Spouse left the residence and went to the local police department to file a report. The Spouse claimed he/she ‘sustained several bruises on [his/her] arm from [the Officer] pushing and shoving [him/her]’. Officer G documented he/she was ‘small bruises’ on the Spouse’s arm. When asked by responding officer’s, the Officer ‘denied making any physical contact with [the Spouse].’ The Officer was arrested and charged with Simple Battery (FVA), Battery (FVA), and Cruelty to Children 3rd Degree. This arrest was reported to POST by the Officer, as required.”

Missing information

While Allen purports to be a defender of “those who cannot defend themselves,” echoing Hill’s motto, his campaign site does not refer to his own domestic violence case, nor does it mention his disciplinary issues and resignation from DKSO.

Instead, Allen’s campaign website says, “In 2010, Sheriff Allen joined the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office as a detention officer under Sheriff Thomas E. Brown. He became a member of Sheriff Brown’s Honor Guard and his Jail Emergency Service Team (JEST). He also received the honor of receiving a Sheriff’s Commendation letter from Sheriff Brown for assisting a DeKalb Police Officer in a fight on the expressway with a suspect that was trying to escape.”

A Facebook post that appeared on Hill’s personal page in mid-January had featured Allen, when he was a DKSO detention officer, posing with former Dekalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown. Brown had commented, “Thomas Brown is a Federal Presidential Appointed Official and by law cannot and will not endorse anyone for any elected position. This photo is being used without permission.” As of press time, that photo no longer appears on Hill’s timeline.

In addition to his October 26, 2012 suspension and resignation due to the domestic violence incident at his home, Allen had been written up three times while at DKSO, according to POST’s Probable Cause Committee Recommendation to Council:

  • June 30, 2010: Allen was reprimanded for tardiness
  • July 26, 2010: Allen was suspended for one day (8.5 hours) for insubordination, AWOL, and residence telephone/address
  • July 10, 2012: Allen was reprimanded for conduct unbecoming, “after being involved in a physical struggle/altercation with a co-worker”

According to Allen’s POST record, he moved from being a jailor [sic] to a deputy sheriff on October 7, 2017. Hill, who signaled to his political followers that he had “groomed” Allen to take his place, promoted Allen on this schedule:

  • January 19, 2013: Jailor
  • October 7, 2017: Deputy Sheriff
  • June 15, 2019: Sergeant
  • November 23, 2019: Lieutenant
  • October 1, 2020: Captain
  • November 3, 2020: Major

On October 27, 2022, one day after former Sheriff Victor Hill’s federal conviction on six of seven counts of violating pretrial detainees’ rights under color of law, Allen was promoted to Chief Deputy under Acting Sheriff Ronald Boehrer. On December 22, 2022, Allen was sworn in as interim sheriff minutes before the county shut down for the Christmas holiday and without any representatives of the news media present. Boehrer, who reportedly was to have retired on December 31, stepped down early, giving Allen the top spot at CCSO before the end of the year.

A history of violence

While certified law enforcement officers are trained in the use of force, they must follow strict regulations when deciding how much force to apply against a suspect at any given moment.

Under Hill’s regime, the Clayton County Jail became notorious for its violence, drawing several federal lawsuits, at least two FBI searches on Hill’s office, and finally Hill’s conviction on federal charges he used his authority to abuse the six pretrial detainees who had not done anything to merit physical restraint, much less in a jailhouse restraint chair for hours at a time.

While some members of the public applaud CCSO’s violent streak, saying that’s what Clayton County needs to deter violent criminals, two indisputable facts remain: all law enforcement officers must follow the use of force continuum, and pretrial detainees are not “inmates” who have been tried and sentenced on those charges. (As of press time, the Clayton County Jail is holding people on such charges as improper lane change, not having a valid business license, possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, and unlawful public transportation tickets or tokens.)

A jail is not a prison, and even prisoners who have been convicted of a crime have constitutional rights as well as human rights under black-letter law. Jailers do not have the authority to declare pretrial detainees “criminals” to punish them for any alleged crimes, nor to punish them for any past convictions.

Yet CCSO, then under Hill and now, through Allen’s campaign as heavily influenced by Hill, has made vengeance—not justice—its main talking point.

Clayton County Interim Sheriff Levon Allen poses with. a “Walking Tall” club branded with Buford Pusser’s name. (Photo: Levon Allen campaign site)

Allen’s campaign website features a photo of him sitting on the sheriff’s desk and clutching an ax handle in a nod to “Walking Tall” Sheriff Buford Pusser, one of Hill’s heroes, who was known to wield a club against violent criminals in the backwoods of the Tennessee-Mississippi border. (The “Walking Tall” reference has long been a joke among disgruntled former CCSO deputies, who have nicknamed Hill “Walking Small.”)

Family history

Allen’s website also refers to the impact that domestic violence has had in his own life.

According to the site, he grew up in southwest Atlanta but his family moved to Riverdale in 1996, “when his aunt Marion Sherrer was murdered at the hands of her boyfriend, whom she was trying to leave. Although Sheriff Allen was young at the time, he still remembers the incident as if it were yesterday….In 2000, Sheriff Allen’s only brother was shot dead and killed in Atlanta, in the front yard of his grandmother’s home. In 2008, Sheriff Allen’s oldest sister was burned alive and killed in her home in Atlanta by her boyfriend, who threatened to kill her if she ever tried to leave him.” (Allen’s website does not name the alleged perpetrators and he has not answered a request for information about when and where the deaths took place.)

Those traumatic events are what led Allen to law enforcement, according to his campaign website, which echoes Hill’s stated mission for CCSO: “After experiencing the harm and pain that families go through when their family members are victims of heinous violent crimes, Sheriff Allen had a clear vision of what he wanted to do in life: ‘defend those who could not defend themselves.'”

Yet in 2013, CCSO hired Allen to work in the Clayton County Jail, nine days before Allen’s own domestic violence case was scheduled to go to a jury.

The Clayton Crescent has asked Allen to comment on his domestic violence case, the dates and locations of his family members’ violent killings, and whether he believes trauma from their deaths that he refers to on his campaign website might have played a role in the 2012 incident at his home.

As of press time, Allen has not responded to The Clayton Crescent’s request to share his side of the story. Allen also did not show up to two public forums last week for candidates in the March 21 special election for sheriff.

Like Godfather, like godson?

Former sheriff and federally convicted felon Victor Hill (left) poses with Interim Sheriff Levon Allen (right) under a poster of Marlon Brando as The Godfather. Hill, who was convicted of violating the rights of pretrial detainees in the Clayton County Jail, is stumping hard for Allen, his godson and a party to the illegal restraint chair incidents. Allen has not been charged in any of the incidents. Allen was hired as a CCSO jailer nine days before Allen was to appear before a Clayton County jury on domestic violence charges. Allen made a deal to plead no contest to two lesser charges and complete counseling. After Hill took office a month later, he repeatedly promoted Allen. Two Georgia POST officials had recommended Allen’s law enforcement certification be revoked. POST waived the recommendation after Allen’s plea deal. (Photo: Victor Hill’s Facebook timeline)

Evidence introduced in federal court during Hill’s trial last year, including video from the Clayton County Jail, showed that Allen took part in strapping pretrial detainees into restraint chairs at Hill’s direction. A jury found that those victims, including a 17-year-old, had not done anything to warrant being restrained, and that Allen and Hill had exchanged text messages, while Allen was still at the scene, about what to do with the teenager. Hill’s one-word order was “Chair.” Prosecutors successfully argued that the teen, who had been compliant from the time he was taken into custody, had not not threatened himself or others at the jail and therefore the chair should not have been used.

They also showed video of Allen strapping landscaper Glenn Howell, who had gotten into an argument with a deputy over payment for a job, then received a series of text messages and FaceTime calls from Hill about the incident, into a restraint chair as Hill stood and watched. In April 2021, CCSO Lt. Josh Guthrie told WAOK Hill had not broken the law. Guthrie was the deputy who had had the dispute with Howell.

Allen did not stand up to Hill’s orders, which were later ruled unconstitutional. He followed them.

In November, at the “18 Holes for Heroes” Public Safety Golf Tournament, Allen approached The Clayton Crescent’s editor and offered his business card. Asked whether he planned to change any policies at the Clayton County Jail, Allen replied, “We’ll see.”

The Clayton Crescent has asked Allen to comment on the domestic violence incident and the altercation with a DKSO coworker, as well as his campaign website’s references to family members who were victims of domestic violence and the impact that had on his decision to enter law enforcement. We will update with Allen’s response should he provide one.

Evans: Public reprimand, lapsed certifications, termination

Prior to his time at CCSO, Evans’ POST record shows, he had been hired April 1, 1993 as a peace officer at Wrightsville Youth Detention Center. After one year and 11 months, he transferred to Metro State Prison as a corrections officer for two years and seven months until October 31, 1998. The next day, Evans transferred to Phillips State Prison, then voluntarily resigned 30 days later.

Terry Evans on patrol with the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office. (Photo: Terry Evans campaign website)

On May 15, 2000, Evans was hired by CCSO as a lieutenant, earning his jailer certification on September 30, 2002 and his basic law enforcement certification on October 8, 2003.

A little over a month later, on November 12, 2003, a mother of four children who shared a home with Evans filed a temporary protection order (TPO) against him. The dates in the case file differ from those in the POST case summary (POST has it in October, while the court records indicate November, but the incident described is the same).

In her request to the court, the woman wrote that Evans allegedly had threatened her in front of her children while she was talking on the phone with her mother about her ex-husband, snatched a necklace from her, tried to strangle her, and then loaded his pistol in front of her when she said she was leaving:

On 11/11/03 evening I had my children call their grandmother because of her surgery. The kids talk to her and then she wanted to speak to me about [child’s] father (my ex-husband). Terry call me I was currently my restroom in my room. Then he said you disrespectful little hifer [sic] don’t be talking about another man in this house. Then I apologize and went back into restroom. He called me again and told me to get the phone. I told her I talked to later. I told my big girls to go bed I took the twins to bed he came in my face And called me a disrespectful little Bitch. I went to take a bath close the bedroom door took to bathroom closet close and locked the door turn on bath water then he came in and I left out he pushed me. I tried to go back in the room he tore my necklace off of me. Then put his hands on my throat. I struggle with him to get him off of me. I told him I was leaving he said ‘not his truck’ and went to the closet put clip in the gun, put it in holster. I ran out the house to eckreds [sic]. When he drinks or use achohol [sic] I had sevral altercations with him. When becomes violent physically and emotionally abusive

Handwritten request for temporary protective order against then-CCSO Deputy Terry Evans by a woman who lived with her four children in the same house. Evans did not return requests for comment on this story or on the case. A judge found him not guilty in a bench trial because the woman recanted her request the day after she had filed it.

A judge ordered Evans to vacate the home and allowed the woman to stay there and to use Evans’ vehicle. She also ordered that Evans could schedule a day and time to get his personal belongings—with a CCSO escort.

But the next day, according to POST investigators, the woman asked how she could rescind the request. She then filed a motion to dismiss the TPO against Evans that was date-stamped November 17, 2003, writing:

“The reason I’m asking for dismissal because I was not clear mind setting of the things that occurred I’ve had chance think about the course of action of some of my decision, I was very hurt and angry with the things happen, and some influence In making the decisions I had made. I’m totally not comfortable with the decision for a follow a TPO would like dismissed.”

A woman who alleged former CCSO Deputy Terry Evans had attacked her in their home filed a motion to dismiss that TPO days later in Novemner 2003.

By November 26, 2003, the TPO was dismissed “for want of prosecution,” according to Evans’ POST file.

In a second domestic incident on November 28, 2004, according to his POST file and court records, Evans allegedly got into an argument with his ex-wife over a custody swap:

“This Officer was charged with Battery/Family Violence and Cruelty to Children….the complainant advised the police officers that he was unable to pick up his children from his ex-wife and became concerned. He went to his ex-wife’s residence and she met him at the gate. She stated she and this officer had gotten into an altercation and she had to go to the hospital for medical attention….[Evans] advised that [he] did in fact have an argument with the victim, but there was no physical contact. The police then observed blood on [Evans’] shirt and pants leg. [Evans] stated that [he] had scratched himself, but could not show the police officers anywhere on [his] body that could have bled that much. [Evans] then stated [he] did not wish to talk with the police office[r]s until [his] supervisor arrived.”

When the supervisor showed up, Evans allegedly:

“stated [he] chastised the victim for not having the kids back per a court order and the complainant (ex-husband was unable to pick them up as scheduled. [Evans] stated the victim swung at [him] and missed….then stated [he] attempted to get the cell phone that [he] provides for her….[Evans] stated she pulled away and [he] again tried to take the phone away from her…[Evans] stated [he] apparently struck her ear causing her earring to come out and her ear began to bleed. The officer stated she then left with the child to me[e]t the complainant.”

When police interviewed the woman after she picked up a pain prescription for her stitched-up ear, she at first

“denied any physical altercation and would not give a written statement. During a later interview the victim stated the officer has a severe drinking problem, but was a good provider. The victim also admitted later her ear was torn while tussling with the officer. The nurse at the Medical Center was interviewed and stated she head the victim tell another party the officer had ripped the ring from her ear. When the nurse questioned the victim she stated she did not want to report it because of [Evans] being an officer.”

Evans’ supervisor told him to spend the night somewhere else, according to the case summary. On December 1, Evans failed a voice stress analysis when he was questioned about the incident.

Yet on September 29, 2005, Judge Morris Braswell found Evans not guilty in a bench trial—and Evans kept his job at CCSO. In 2006, POST recommended that Evans be publicly reprimanded and suspended for 36 months. POST also ordered him to seek out and pay for alcohol counseling within six months.

Despite the two previous incidents, Evans continued to serve with CCSO for another 15 years.

He was demoted to sergeant on May 19, 2018. A year later, he was back at lieutenant, then named captain six months later. On October 23, 2020, Evans was promoted to major. Less than a year later, on September 9, 2021, Evans was terminated from CCSO.

Evans’ Georgia POST record shows his file as “review required.” In addition, his only current law enforcement certification is as a jailer. His certifications as a basic law enforcement officer and as a corrections officer are listed as “lapsed due to training deficiency.”

Evans’ campaign website says he will “Develop training and forums to build stronger partnerships working collaboratively, with the aim of combating domestic violence, elder abuse, child abuse, and financial exploitation.”

The Clayton Crescent e-mailed Evans for comment on the domestic violence allegations noted in his POST record, then spoke to him in person shortly after this story was published. Evans acknowledged that the incidents were bound to go public and was straightforward in addressing them.

“You’re doing what you’ve got to do and I respect you for what you do,” he said. “I’m one, you saw me on the news, who said citizens need to know if they need to know….as far as I’m concerned, it was a non-issue, but they need to know that.”

Winn: Anger management

On September 22, 2012, Winn was working as a nightclub bouncer and got into an argument with a customer, who pressed battery charges against him. The customer alleged Winn had “punched him in the nose, causing it to bleed.” Winn told POST investigators that “once he learned of the warrant, he turned himself in” and that “he was told to complete anger management and community service, and ‘the case would be thrown out.'” POST noted that, after Winn finished pretrial intervention in anger management and completed community service, “(t)he charges were nolle prossed.”

On April 24, 2017, according to POST, Winn applied for jailer certification, noting his 2012 arrest. POST found out that Winn had not turned himself in, as he had stated, but that he had been arrested at an apartment complex two months later on the outstanding warrant. Less than six months after starting as a jailer at DKSO, on October 9, 2017, Winn voluntarily resigned.

However, on April 13, 2018, POST approved his certification.

Winn was then hired at CCSO on March 25, 2019—under Hill’s authority—working as a jailer until he was terminated on May 6, 2021. The Clayton Crescent has filed an Open Records Request for Winn’s personnel file (as well as for Allen’s and Evans’).

The next month, on June 24, Winn was charged in Clayton County with first-degree cruelty to children and battery-simple/family violence. On December 13, 2022—one day after the case appeared on the jury trial calendar—that case also was nolle prossed.

Case summary from Georgia POST investigation of former CCSO jailer Raymon Winn.

Winn’s history is part of Taylor v. Hill, a federal case against Hill, Winn, and others. Hill is alleged to have known about Winn’s alleged violent background but to have hired him anyway. A Georgia POST official told The Clayton Crescent that Winn is “under investigation currently” as of press time.

DKSO: No comment

The Clayton Crescent asked a Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson for information about Allen’s and Winn’s time at the agency.

PIO Cynthia Baugh Williams replied, “Your request has been received.  However, neither the agency nor the sheriff will make any comment regarding the candidates for office in Clayton County, including confirming details of their personnel records while with DKSO. The agency will not facilitate access to anyone who might provide you with information.  You can, of course, request information in the form of documents that are public records through our Open Records office at sherifforr@dekalbcountyga.gov.”

The Clayton Crescent has filed that Open Records Request.

Learn more about domestic violence among law enforcement officials from the Battered Women’s Justice Project.

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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