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Man says police beat him up

LOGANVILLE -- A Gwinnett man plans to sue the Loganville Police Department after he says they brutally beat him in the wake of his stepson's suicide.

Kenneth Dixon said he came back to his Fiddler's Bend home Wednesday afternoon to find his 24-year-old stepson, Ronnie Norman, dead in the garage after taking his own life.

Shouts for help as he performed CPR elicited the quick response of emergency personnel. With EMTs trying to resuscitate Norman, Dixon said he tried to run inside for a towel.

That, he said, is when one of the darkest days of his life turned bleaker.

"One (police officer) grabbed me by the back of the arm, pretty forcibly," an emotional Dixon told the Daily Post on Monday. "All I did was jerk my arm out of his hand and say, 'Don't touch me.' The man took it personally.

"That man's rage just built, like, 'I'm a cop, you can't tell me what to do.' That one started it, and three more jumped in. Two were holding me down and two were punching me."

Dixon was taken to Gwinnett County Jail and charged with obstruction before posting $1,300 bond. His mug shot clearly shows the effects of the altercation.

"I'm scuffed up, scraped up everywhere on the face from them dragging my face on the pavement. I have two black eyes," Dixon said.

"All that on top of finding my son dead. I mean, good Lord, people. What happened to the compassion? What happened to protect and serve?"

Dixon insists that he did nothing to provoke the police officers. Loganville's Chief Michael McHugh has called in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look into the incident, saying he doesn't expect the bureau to find "anything out of sorts."

"I really can't comment until the completion of the investigation," McHugh said Monday, "but the GBI is actively conducting interviews at this time."

"There'll come a time when this will all come out though," he added.

McHugh said the four officers in question remain on active duty. Dixon wants the resignation of the men he estimates beat him for "five minutes, maybe seven."

Norman leaves behind a wife and child. Away on vacation last week, Norman's widow was hospitalized when she got news of his passing -- during her stay she found out she was two weeks pregnant with the couple's second child, Dixon said.

Now, Dixon and his wife will attempt to sue Loganville police for $10 million to "send a message." If successful, they'll use the money to start a suicide prevention hotline in Norman's name, Dixon said.

McHugh was confident that the GBI's investigation will find no wrongdoing on behalf of his officers. Dixon, though, said there's no gray area to examine -- he was wronged on what was already the worst day of his life.

"I'm telling you there is no other side," he said. "I did nothing wrong to these people."