Savannah man arrested for strangling wife, pushing officer off porch

Written by: E. George

Published March 7, 2023 @ 8:40 PM ET

Chatham County (February 26, 2023) – A 17-year-old called 911 when his father began strangling his mother and struck him when he tried to help her. Four officers from the Savannah Police Department responded to the New York Avenue residence to investigate the domestic disturbance. It did not take long for the suspect to become physical with each of them, pushing one of the officers off a five-foot porch.

The son explained to the officers that his father had also hit his younger brother, and he remained in the house with his parents. When they entered the home, Armone Jermell Graham became extremely uncooperative and possessive of his wife.

He refused to exit and prevented her from speaking with the officers. He denied domestic violence, yet they noted a fresh scratch on his left forearm.

Graham assumed a boxer-type stance and displayed pre-assault indicators that made them prepare. He shifted his weight and constantly repositioned his body as the officers moved.

When they ordered him to exit the residence and threatened to tase him, he stood in the doorway and said he “wanted a taste of the taser.” They warned him to comply, or he would be pepper-sprayed, but he did not back down.

An officer grabbed his left arm and performed an arm drag, pulling him out of the house. He began fighting the officers, and one deployed his pepper spray.

Graham dropped quickly to the ground, avoiding the spray; however, it struck another officer in the face and arms. Temporarily blinded, he immediately placed his hand over his holstered handgun to secure it and stepped out into the front yard.

He regained sight, and as he walked back to the fight, he saw Graham push an officer over the front porch railing. He fell five feet and landed on the ground on his back.

He continued fighting the two remaining officers on the porch, pushing one into the railing and moving behind him. The officer who got pepper-sprayed observed Graham move his right arm onto the officer’s duty belt and his left arm reach for his gun holster.

Realizing the rapidly unfolding danger, the officer walking up to the porch drew his weapon and moved toward Graham. He pointed his gun at his face and warned him that he would shoot if he did not release the officer.

The officer who was pushed off the porch recovered and deployed his taser, but it did not affect Graham. He stated, “I didn’t feel no taser.”

The officer with the gun warned him again, and he seemed to realize his predicament. He asked, “You gonna shoot me?” After another warning, he finally began to comply.

He released the officer and slowly assumed a face-down position on the ground. They secured his wrists with handcuffs, but he quickly became belligerent again.

Despite attacking four police officers, he asked them, “What are you arresting me for?” They placed him in the backseat of a patrol car.

While interviewing Graham’s wife, they observed several wounds to her throat. They noted a one-inch laceration on the right side of her neck, a scratch on the left, and redness all around.

Fearful and timid, she apologized and admitted that her husband had strangled her. She made several subconscious motions toward her throat and appeared in pain. Chatham EMS arrived and assessed her injuries and those of the suspect and injured officer.

Officers transported Graham to Memorial Medical Center. After medical clearance, they drove him to the Chatham County Detention Center without further incident.

He was charged with aggravated assault, false imprisonment, terroristic threats and acts, battery, third-degree cruelty to children, misdemeanor willful obstruction of law enforcement officers, and felony willful obstruction of law enforcement officers by use of threats or violence. This case is currently pending in court.

Officer’s Narrative:
[Please note: The following is a direct transcription from the official initial incident report. The Georgia Gazette does not fix any spelling or grammatical errors that may exist. Any changes or redactions made by our staff are placed inside brackets. Some errors may exist. All subjects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The topics discussed may be sensitive to some readers. Discretion is advised.]

I, Corporal J. Eblin, responded to [2100 BLOCK] New York Avenue for a report of domestic violence. Call notes advised the caller to be the seventeen (17) year-old son of the suspect who was threatening and striking the mother. Upon arrival on scene I activated my body worn camera and began to investigate.

Multiple other Officer’s were on scene with me during the investigation: Officer Ely, Officer Wadkins, Officer Grimes.

The original complainant (17 year old) was found to be Mr. [VICTIM #1]. Mr. [VICTIM #1] advised that his younger brother, Mr. [VICTIM #2], was still inside the residence with his mother, Ms. [VICTIM #3] and his father, Mr. Armone Graham. Mr. [VICTIM #1] advised his father had struck him, his brother and had strangled his mother.

Knocking on the front door of the residence at [2100 BLOCK] New York Avenue I found Mr. Graham and Ms. [VICTIM #3] still inside. Mr. Graham was extremely uncooperative and possessive of Ms. [VICTIM #3]. Mr. Graham refused to exit the residence and refused to allow Ms. [VICTIM #3] to speak to Officers. Mr. Graham was dismissive of Police presence and that an investigation was underway.

Mr. Graham repeatedly denied any domestic violence had occurred. I observed a fresh scratch to Mr. Graham’s left forearm, indicating that a physical altercation had occurred, despite his repeated claims it has not. Mr. Graham repeatedly displayed pre-assault indicators during my initial interview with him. Mr. Graham shifted his weight and would repeatedly reposition his body as Officer’s moved. Mr. Graham would tense his muscles and lean forward and backwards re-balancing his weight similar to that of a boxer.

After repeated attempts to separate Ms. [VICTIM #3] from Mr. Graham, Officer’s were finally able to separate her several feet to the immediate front porch area and perform a visual assessment. Officer’s found several wounds to Ms. [VICTIM #3]’s throat that were consistent with the initial report from her son that she was strangled.

Speaking to Mr. [VICTIM #1] again he described Mr. Graham strangling his mother and repeatedly keeping her from fleeing the bedroom where the attack had occurred. Mr. [VICTIM #1] advised that he attempted to intercede several times during the attack with Mr. Graham striking him several times before forcibly dragging Ms. [VICTIM #3] back to the bedroom and continuing to strangle her.

I repeatedly asked, then ordered Mr. Graham to exit the residence and allow the investigation to continue. Mr. Graham maintained a defensive position directly in the doorway of the residence. Mr. Graham repeatedly advised he would “do it the hard way” and at one point advised he “wanted a taste of the Taser” when I advised him he would be tased if a physical altercation occurred.

I advised Mr. Graham that he would be pepper-sprayed due to his continued non-compliance. Mr. Graham then bladed his body, placing one foot slightly behind the other, similar to that of a boxer or football player preparing to act. Mr. Graham then placed his right hand in a defense gesture over his eyes and face.

I grabbed Mr. Graham’s left arm and performed an arm drag, pulling him out of the doorway. Mr. Graham then began to fight the Officer’s on scene. Officer Wadkins attempted to deploy pepper spray to Mr. Graham, however Mr. Graham dropped his body down, squatting, and avoided the pepper spray which struck me in the face and arms. Temporarily blinded, I immediately placed my right hand over my holstered handgun, ensuring it remained secured and stepped past the fight, into the front yard and aired the details over A4.

I recovered and found Mr. Graham still engaged in a physical fight with Officer Wadkins, Officer Grimes and Officer Ely on the front porch of the residence. As I re-entered the front porch, Mr. Graham pushed Officer Grimes over the porch railing, resulting in him falling approximately five (5) feet over the bushes and onto his back in the front yard of the residence.

Mr. Graham continued to engage Officer Ely and Officer Grimes who were still trying to gain control. Mr. Graham pushed Officer Ely into the railing and then began to move into a rear position (directly behind Officer Ely), moving his right arm onto Officer Ely’s duty belt and started to move his left arm toward Officer Ely’s handgun holster (Officer Ely is left handed).

Recognizing the immediate danger of Mr. Graham who had already pushed Officer Wadkins off the porch and now reaching for Officer Ely’s duty belt and attempting to gain a rear control position, I drew my department issued handgun and moved toward Mr. Graham. I centered my sights on his face and prepared for a close range “contact” shot if necessary. I loudly advised Mr. Graham I would shoot him if he did not release Officer Ely.

Officer Wadkins had recovered and drew his department issued Taser and announced “Taser” loudly. Officer Wadkins deployed a single set of Taser probes, which had no visible effect on Mr. Graham. Mr. Graham then announced loudly “I didn’t feel no Taser”.

I again advised Mr. Graham to release Officer Ely or I would shoot him in the face. Mr. Graham then seemed to realize the immediate danger he had placed himself in and asked “you gonna shoot me?” I again advised Mr. Graham I would shoot him. Mr. Graham then began to comply, releasing Officer Ely and slowing assuming a prone (face-down) position on the porch. I maintained lethal cover on Mr. Graham until he was secured in handcuffs to the rear.

I then returned to the residence, finally entering and speaking to Ms. [VICTIM #3]. Ms. [VICTIM #3] apologized profusely to myself and the other Officer’s on scene, which was odd given that Mr. Graham was the one who was non-compliant.

Ms. [VICTIM #3] was very fearful and timid in her responses. Ms. [VICTIM #3] admitted that Mr. Graham had “only choked” her, before admitting that Mr. Graham had strangled her with her hands. Assessing Ms. [VICTIM #3] I found an approximately one (1) inch laceration to her right side neck and redness in the area. Ms. [VICTIM #3] also had a scratch and redness to the left side of her neck.

All of the wounds on Ms. [VICTIM #3]’ neck were consistent with strangulation. Ms. [VICTIM #3] made several motions toward her throat that seemed to be sub-conscious and she appeared in pain. When I asked her if her throat was sore Ms. [VICTIM #3] initially began to respond in the affirmative before advising “it’s dry”.

Mr. Graham continued to be belligerent and uncooperative. Mr. Graham still did not seem to understand the severity of the situation and the investigation, asking “What are you arresting me for?” despite the aforementioned use of force and obstruction of Law Enforcement.

Chatham EMS responded to the scene and assessed Mr. Graham and Ms. [VICTIM #3]. Chatham EMS also provided an assessment for Officer Wadkins who received several injuries from Mr. Graham. I was eventually decontaminated from the pepper spray via Chatham EMS.

SPD Supervisor and SPD DVA CID responded to the scene.

Mr. Graham was placed in the transport area of a Marked Police vehicle and secured with a seatbelt.

Detective Purdee arrived on scene and completed an interview with Ms. [VICTIM #3] and her sons (Mr. [VICTIM #2]. and Mr. [VICTIM #1]). Upon completion of the interview Mr. Graham was formally placed under arrest.

I issued Ms. [VICTIM #3] a CRN card and advised her on report retrieval procedures. I strongly encouraged Ms. [VICTIM #3] to take additional legal actions against Mr. Graham and to be proactive during the continuing phases of the investigation.

Ms. [VICTIM #3] completed the Domestic Violence Lethality Screen for First Responders form. Ms. [VICTIM #3] declined a SafeShelter consult.

Mr. Graham was transported to Memorial Medical Center (MMC) for medical clearance. Upon medical clearance Mr. Graham was transported to CCDC where he was booked without incident. Mr. Graham was charged with the following:

-two (2) counts of Aggravated Assault DVA (O.C.G.A 16-5-21)
-one (1) count of False Imprisonment (O.C.G.A 16-5-41)
-three (3) counts of Terroristic Threats DVA (O.C.G.A 16-11-37)
-one (1) count of Battery DVA (O.C.G.A 16-5-23.1)
-two (2) counts of Cruelty to Children 3rd Degree (O.C.G.A 16-5-70)
-one (1) count of Felony Obstruction of LEO (O.C.G.A 16-10-24(b))
-three (3) counts of Obstruction of LEO (O.C.G.A 16-10-24)

SPD Supervisor on scene.

[End of Narrative]