Editor’s note: We’re republishing this article, which was originally published in March, as part of our continuous commitment to help Don and his family during their ordeal. Originally planned for Monday, 6/22, their trial has been postponed until August because of the persistent danger of the Coronavirus.

“Headshot” Don.

That’s a callsign you won’t come by every day. To earn it, one has to be shot in the head and survive to tell the tale.

Meet Don Bradley.

Don has served this country for over three decades at the tip of the spear. He is a plankowner of the reactivated 3rd Special Forces Group, in which he served as an Engineer (18C) and Intelligence (18F) Sergeant in the 1990s. He then moved on to the CIA, where he served in the Global Response Staff (GRS). Don has over 20 combat deployments and many more hair-raising stories.

Once in Afghanistan, while working for the Agency, his car was rammed by a Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED). Don with characteristic self-composure directed the VIP passengers out of the flaming vehicle while scanning for threats.

Don’s vehicle after being rammed by a VBIED. 

The moral of this story? Don isn’t the person who will get into trouble over minute stuff even in retirement.

The incident

Fast forward to the afternoon of December 27, 2018. Don had finished work and was on his way home. While driving on Highway 87, Monroe Country, Georgia, he was involved in a road rage incident. He and another driver, William Dale Hindman Jr., had an altercation that resulted in Don being shot in the head by Hindman.

That’s when the travesty began. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) responded to the incident. Don was transported to the hospital in critical condition. Although MCSD had Don’s car plates and retrieved his wallet, which included his driver’s license, they misidentified him for a career felon.

Hindman went to the police station and gave his version of the event, portraying Don as the aggressor and himself as the victim. It’s important to note that Hindman has had a history of violence and a restraining order for domestic violence. The MCSD, having already misidentified Don, went with Hindman’s version of the events even though they hadn’t waited to hear or see any other evidence. As far as the MCSD was concerned, they had their man in Don. And the MCSD Sheriff went on public television with that unprofessional and impromptu verdict.

Don, meanwhile, was fighting for his life in the hospital. And his family was completely unaware of any of that. As the hours passed and Don had yet to return from work, Pam Bradley, his wife, began worrying. Once she finally learned what had happened to Don, she contacted the MCSD, which proceeded to tell her that she couldn’t go near the hospital or she would be arrested. It was only 20 hours after Don had been shot that Pam was able to see him. During this 20-hour period, Don could have died without his loved ones getting the chance to say goodbye, and all because of incompetent cops.

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The wound.

The Aftermath

Now Don is facing charges for aggravated assault even though his and his family’s lives have been changed forever because of the incident. The Bradley’s had to relocate to Florida because of how the MCSD was treating them. Speaking about his relocation to the Sunshine State Don said to SOFREP that he and his family “were no longer comfortable with living in Georgia after identifying deputies following my wife (third time confirmed was our breaking point) and with them pulling over and harassing our only employee (three times in a week). So we left.”

The MCSD has had a disturbing record. Once, they arrested a woman after mistakenly misidentifying cotton candy for meth. Another time, an MCSD deputy was arrested by a neighboring police department in an undercover drug sting. And yet another time, an MCSD deputy requested sexual favors from a woman he had arrested in order to erase the incident. Corrupt and incompetent are the best words to describe the MCSD.

What is the most baffling thing about this travesty is that even when the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department realized its mistake it did nothing to atone for its screw up. They continue to be uncooperative and treat the Bradleys with characteristic disdain. And even after all this parody of justice, the MCSD still hasn’t apologized to the Bradley’s about how they treated Pam following the incident.

Don and Pam Bradley need your help.

Bullet fragments are still inside Don’s skull and perilously close to an artery. A fall or an abrupt movement could cause them to cut the artery and kill Don. Because of the incident, the Bradleys are six figures deep in medical and legal costs. Every dollar will go a long way in their battle. Please consider supporting them by visiting their GoFundMe page.

The trial has a tentative date of June 22. It will take place at the Monroe Country courthouse, Forsyth, Georgia.