A Jefferson County Sheriff's deputy who was the subject of an internal investigation into his use of a weapon during a reported domestic disturbance Tuesday has resigned. Sheriff's Office spokesman Maj. Lafayette Woods Jr. said late Thursday night that Jefferson County Sheriff Gerald Robinson has accepted the resignation of Cpl. Gerald Canada, who had been on administrative leave with pay following the incident at the Greenwood Manor Apartments at 3200 S. Fir St.
Canada, a seven-year veteran of the sheriff's office who was assigned to the patrol division, was accused of firing his weapon and striking the suspect, Demetrius B. Ruff Jr., 23. To date, Ruff, who was being sought for second-degree battery on a law enforcement officer, has not turned himself in or sought medical attention. Police said they found out that Ruff had been hit by gunfire after he contacted a Pine Bluff police officer he is familiar with.
“As we do in all deputy-involved shootings and notification of the discharging of a service weapon, we ordered an administrative investigation by our Internal Affairs Division for the sole purpose of keeping with the mission of the Internal Affairs Division,” Woods said.
“That mission is to aid the sheriff's office in maintaining the public's trust by conducting fair and impartial administrative investigations of deputy's and other personnel involved in critical incidents such as those that result in use-of-force.”
Canada and Pine Bluff Police Officer Anthony Kirkpatrick responded to the reported disturbance involving a man and woman on Tuesday, with Kirkpatrick talking to the woman and Canada to the man. A report by Kirkpatrick said there were signs of a struggle inside the apartment, including overturned furniture. The woman told Kirkpatrick that Ruff had struck her in the head with a piece of furniture. After noticing that she was bleeding from the head, Kirkpatrick told Canada to handcuff Ruff for domestic battery.
The report said Canada and Ruff struggled while Canada was trying to place handcuffs on Ruff, and Kirkpatrick then went to Canada's aid, who was struggling with Ruff against a wall near the living room door. Kirkpatrick reported that he fell to the ground while holding on to Ruff's left arm.
“I noticed at that time that I was the only one that had a hold on him,” Kirkpatrick said in the report.
He said he saw Canada rubbing his face when Ruff broke away from him and took off running down the stairs as he (Kirkpatrick) was getting up.
“I heard a loud bang and looked back and saw Canada had his gun out,” Kirkpatrick said in the report. “I then noticed that Ruff continued to run away from the apartment complex. Canada then ran to the lower level of the stairs and fired another shot at Ruff as he made it to the end of the building and turned south.”
Kirkpatrick also reported that Canada told him that Ruff had hit him in the face as he made it to the door. He also said Ruff had threatened him in the past. Both the internal investigation by the sheriff's office and a criminal investigation by Pine Bluff police are continuing.