Derwin Brown

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Derwin Brown
Born (1954-06-22)June 22, 1954
Fort Knox, Kentucky, U.S.
Died December 15, 2000(2000-12-15) (aged 46)
Decatur, Georgia, U.S.
Cause of death Shooting
Nationality American
Occupation Law enforcement officer, politician, elected official
Years active 1977–2000
Spouse(s) Phyllis Brown (died 2006)[1]

Derwin Brown (June 22, 1954 – December 15, 2000) was an American police captain and the sheriff-elect of DeKalb County, Georgia, who was assassinated on the evening of December 15, 2000 by defeated rival Sidney Dorsey.

Early life[edit]

The firstborn to Burvena and George Robert Brown, Brown was raised in Long Island, New York, where he attended Woodfield Road School and Malverne Jr. High School for his elementary years of grade school and Malverne High School.[citation needed]


Brown was a 23-year veteran of the DeKalb County Police Department when he was elected to the position of Sheriff on a platform of cleaning up the corruption and graft that had historically troubled the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office.


On December 15, 2000, former Deputy Melvin Walker shot Brown twelve times with a TEC-9 handgun in front of his suburban Atlanta home. Walker was promised a promotion to deputy sheriff if he killed Brown. David Ramsey, the backup shooter and getaway driver, was promised a job as a detention officer. Defeated incumbent, former DeKalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey, was convicted of ordering Brown's assassination. Details that came to light in the trial suggested that Dorsey ordered the killing in order to obstruct an expected probe into corruption that had occurred during his own tenure as sheriff.

The law firm of Casey Gilson Leibel P.C. filed suit on behalf of the Brown family against those involved in the killing. At trial, the family's attorneys, Steve Leibel and George Shingler, showed the jury how Dorsey and his deputies conspired to assassinate Brown. Casey Gilson's efforts resulted in a jury verdict of $776 million in favor of the Brown family. Although the family has thus far been unable to collect any of the judgment, the jury verdict was the largest in Georgia history.

The defense attorneys declined to actually appear on behalf of the defendants at trial; instead, having filed an interlocutory appeal on the issue of liability, they allowed the damages portion of the trial to go forward undefended. The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled in Defendant's favor on the issue of whether the State was immune from suit. Plaintiff appealed the ruling up to the Georgia Supreme Court, and that Court upheld the ruling. The United States Supreme Court denied cert on a subsequent appeal filed by Brown's family.

After the verdict was rendered virtually uncollectable by the series of failed appeals, a bill was introduced into the Georgia House of Representatives seeking to compensate Brown's family in an amount in excess of $300 million. The bill failed to obtain the necessary votes for passage.

On July 13, 2007, Dorsey confessed to investigators that he had ordered Deputy Patrick Cuffy to carry out the killing at Brown's home on December 15, 2000. However, he claimed that he had called the attempt off prior to Brown's assassination.


Brown's wife, Phyllis Brown, died on Christmas Eve 2006 of heart failure at the age of 52—3½ years after suffering a debilitating stroke, and just nine days after leading a candlelight vigil in honor of the anniversary of her late husband's murder.

Brown was a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He was also a member of Freemasonry. There is a Masonic Lodge named in his honor. THE Derwin Brown Masonic Lodge #599 PHA

In popular culture[edit]

Brown’s assassination was featured on Investigation Discovery’s series Fatal Encounters, season 2, episode 6, “Who Shot the Sheriff? [2]

External links[edit]