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Streaking incident brings disciplinary, legal action

Streaking across the football field in his boxer shorts at East Coweta High School during halftime at the Newnan High School game last week left 16-year-old junior Gunner Cook facing obstruction charges from the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office. A video taken of Gunner’s run where he was tased by a deputy has Maj. James Yarbrough saying the deputy followed policy. Yet another video of a deputy cursing at students and pushing one of them a short time later at the concession stand has resulted in an internal investigation of the incident.

Gunner Cook streaked down the field on a dare, said Gunner’s mother Lynn Cook. A video of the incident showed a deputy approaching him near the far-side end zone. A flash of light from the deputy’s hand appeared to be an attempt to use a taser on the high school junior. But the deputy loses his footing and falls to the ground, enabling Gunner to run past him and into the area where band parents and other deputies are assembled.

Cook said her son is facing a misdemeanor charge of obstruction. Due to that charge, Cook said she is taking legal action.

It was the notice of legal action that resulted in Yarbrough being unable to answer additional questions about the incident. What Yarbrough did say prior to the notice of legal action was that the deputy gave Gunner a verbal command that was not heeded, and subsequently discharged the taser according to policy. Yarbrough added that the taser may have nicked Gunner as he ran by the deputy.

Yarbrough said Gunner was grabbed by band parents as he exited the field. At that point deputies subdued the boy. Family friends said that Gunner was subdued by three officers on the asphalt running track adjacent to the football field.

Commenting on Ms. Cook’s statement that she had been told that one of the deputies placed his handgun up to Gunner’s head while he was on the ground, Yarbrough said that did not occur.

Yarbrough said his office has interviewed a number of non-law enforcement individuals who were in close proximity to the incident, including a school principal, and no one saw a gun drawn.

A second, short video shows a number of people in the concession area during halftime. It is in that video that a deputy walks up to a small group of students and yells emphatically, “Get your asses back in the stands.” In response, one of the students asks, “Can’t we get something to eat?” At that point the deputy turns back in the direction of the students, approaches and appears to shove one of them backwards. Another student responds to the action saying, “That’s not needed.” The deputy then points at the students and says. “Act like you’ve got some sense.”

Yarbrough also commented on the alleged shoving incident in the concession area, saying the deputy’s action is the subject of an internal investigation.

As for Gunner, the school tribunal resulted in his suspension from school until Dec. 3. He is also prohibited from attending or participating in after-school activities for the remainder of the school year, Lynn Cook said.

“I was fine with the school’s disciplinary decision because Gunner knew he did wrong,” Cook said of her son, adding that he maintains a B-average and has a spotless record with no past disciplinary problems. “He said he wished he hadn’t done it and he would try to stop someone else from doing the same thing.”

Family friend and military veteran Bill Kemp was at the game. In viewing the video of Gunner and the deputy on the field, Kemp said he did not see the officer’s hand come up to try to stop Gunner.

“Gunner was running fast and the officer (as he approached the student) lost his footing and fell,” Kemp said. “If (the deputy) followed (taser) procedure, I suggest they revise the procedure. It was excessive.”

Pertaining to the videos on the field and the shoving and language used by the officer at the concession area, Kemp said, “Because of officers’ actions like that, is why a lot of people in the public are afraid of them. You should be afraid of bad guys, not of the police.”

Another family friend, David Webb, said one of his children was among those taking videos at the football game. Webb noted his concern with the circumstances that unfolded and with an aspect of what he saw in the videos.

“I’m concerned that when my kids or my wife are in the community that officers might be compelled to treat them or other citizens that way,” Webb said.



back in the late 60's and early 70's, every 4th of July, after the parade down Main St. and then the bbq and then the fireworks, the very small town where all the above was held, there was a huge bonfire lit up in a field next to the baseball fields. There was a steep hill on one side of the fields, woods behind there.
The biggest joy of adults and kids alike was staying for the bonfire, since 2 or 3 male teens got very inebriated, and came streaking down the hill from the woods and ran around the bonfire in nothing but their sh*&kicker boots and paper bags over their heads. They would run around the fire a few times and then run off into the crowd. No one stopped them, their friends were waiting with their clothes outside the crowd. The local cops would stand there and laugh and holler with everyone else and no one got hurt, everyone got a laugh and life was good. Then, off to college and streaking continued on campus for a few years. Anyone who lived thru the streaking era back in the 70's knows how fun this was. It's part of small town Americana. Taser on a streaker? Man, that could have ruined that kid's life, if the shot was in the wrong spot, if you know what I mean. That's nuts! (ahem) Lighten up everyone.

There was a young man named Gunner,
Who took it all off as a runner,
But when the cops came
and saw his whole game
Poor Gunner said man I thought
this would be funner.

Really? I missed that part. In my book, that isn't even streaking, for crying out loud. Butt neked is, boxers isn't. Much ado about nothing here. Hey, many times even butt neked is much ado about nothing. Jeesh.

pranks are now considered crimes. If he had streaked in his Speedos would they have chased and tried to taser him? Please, lighten up. I can remember seniors putting a volkswagon on the roof of our high school. The principal acted as if he was annoyed but you could see that little smile he was trying to hide. Every year the seniors pulled some prank--nothing that caused damage or that couldn't be repaired and they always had to repair it. But each year the whole town waited to see what they would do next. There were other pranks during the year and occasionally they ended in a day or two in school suspension, but nothing on their permanent record and the police did not get involved, or if they did it was only to see that no one got hurt. Now children are treated as criminals for the silliest thing. If they are doing nothing to cause bodily harm to anyone leave them alone. Go after the kids who are robbing the elderly on their golf carts, the ones who are breaking into cars and homes, the ones carrying guns and threatening bodily harm---leave the kids alone pulling a stupid prank.

This needs to be a wake up call. Our country is turning into a police state. Our law enforcement folks are getting out of control. This kind of action needs to stop. The officer needs some re training. Gunner where can I donate to your defense fund? Run gunner Run..ROFLOL. You got spirit...He Ran on a football field in basically a swim suit and a cop tried to tase him. Really?

Just vote. Citizens have given their lives for that right. Stop spending money we do not have. myself

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