Deputy Resigns

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sheriff’s deputy quits over row at Batesville restaurant

By Rupert Howell

A Panola County sheriff’s deputy has resigned following an internal investigation concerning an incident at Zaxby’s restaurant between him and a cashier that occurred Friday, March 12.

Chief Deputy Andy Estridge conducted the investigation of Deputy Darius Smith who had previously been suspended with pay for unprofessional conduct during the investigation.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Reports allege that Smith had words with the Zaxby’s cashier over the amount of a discount before he handcuffed the employee.

Estridge interviewed the cashier,  witnesses and the Zaxby’s owner during the investigation before briefing Sheriff Otis Griffin who then watched a video tape of the incident.

Griffin said it was obvious that Smith’s action went beyond a deputy’s job scope and was inappropriate.

Griffin also said, “I don’t know what happened. He did a fantastic job for us… He apparently stressed out and took it too far and beyond.”

Smith met with Griffin and Estridge and tendered his resignation effective immediately on March 19 following Estridge’s investigation. Smith has been employed with the local sheriff’s office for approximately four years and also works part-time for Sardis Police Department.