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Domestic dispute fuels SWAT standoff

By Joel Hall

An early-morning domestic dispute led to a police standoff between a Hampton man and the Clayton County Police Department's Special Weapons and Tactics team on Tuesday.

The three-hour ordeal ended with the arrest of Reginald White, 42, who was charged with battery, family violence, and obstructing an officer.

Police responded to a domestic violence call on Starling Trail in Hampton around 1 a.m., on Tuesday morning.

According to Deputy Chief Tim Robinson, an officer who reported to the scene met with White's wife, who had injuries consistent with choking. The officer was eventually confronted at the front door of the residence by White, who was belligerent, Robinson said.

"There were physical marks on her [White's wife]," he said. "That gave probable cause to make the arrest on family violence. He [White] was upset, angry, cussing ... we believe that alcohol was involved. There were four other family members there ... the wife, [White's] mother-in-law, the father (of the wife), and [White's] brother."

According to a police report, White told the officer, "You're here by yourself; I'll beat your [expletive deleted]." After the officer unsheathed his TASER, White retreated into an upstairs bedroom, stating to the officer: "I'm not coming down. The last time I came down, I went to jail. If you want me, come up here and get me."

Robinson said White "has a history" of previous arrests, but did not specify the alleged crimes. He said White is believed to be a water authority employee in the City of Atlanta.

White's relatives fled the house around 2 a.m., according to Robinson. Around that time, White's brother informed the officer that White had access to a firearm.

A negotiator was called to the scene in an attempt to get White to leave the house peacefully. The Clayton County SWAT team was activated after nearly an hour of negotiation proved unsuccessful.

"They continued to talk to him [via cell phone] the whole time, and he seemed like he was going to give up, but he wouldn't come out," Robinson said.

"Sometimes, he would just hang up on them. They had been dealing with him for almost an hour before they activated SWAT."

According to Robinson, 18 SWAT officers converged on the scene, and 40 millimeter pepper-spray canisters were fired into the home. Robinson said that White was TASERed before being taken into custody shortly before 4 a.m.

"Even after the introduction of the OC (pepper spray canisters), he was not compliant," Robinson said. "It was successful," however. "We had a resolution with no injuries, minimal property damage, [and] even the suspect was not injured."

White was being held at the Clayton County Jail without bond.