Two Sides of the Law: Derwin Brown and Sidney Dorsey

0 Posted by - November 26, 2023 - Black History, BLACK MEN

Atlanta born and raised, Sidney Dorsey is a former Dekalb County sheriff born February 23, 1940. Dorsey holds the distinction of being the county’s first sheriff, taking the post in 1996. Four years later, his loss to Derwin Brown would result in a murder that put the former lawman behind bars. His successor was rival Captain Derwin Brown, born June 22, 1954 in Fort Knox.

The paths of Sidney Dorsey and Derwin Brown would cross one last time on a December night in 2000, a night that would end fatally for one of them.

Opposing Sides

Sidney Dorsey’s star in law enforcement hit a milestone in the early 1980s. A homicide detective during 1981, Dorsey was one of lawmen tasked with heading up the hunt for the Atlanta Child Murders between 1979 and 1981. He would be placed in charge of the first sweep of Williams’ home that year. Williams would end up with a life sentence in 1982.


Years later as sheriff, Dorsey pushed for the case to be reopened as he had major doubts–as did others such as author James Baldwin–that Wayne Williams didn’t commit the murders. At the same time, Derwin Brown was making his way through the ranks of the Atlanta’s law enforcement.

Since the late 1970s, Brown was part of the Dekalb County sheriff’s office. In those 23-years, he witnessed rampant corruption under Dorsey’s term as sheriff. When the office came up for election again, Derwin Brown made the decision to throw his hat in the ring on a platform of cleaning up the department.


Brown would emerge victorious in the election for DeKalb County sheriff. In a bid to prevent his successor from investigating the corruption he headed up, Sidney Dorsey organized a hit. By his account, he says that he attempted to cancel it but was too late as the wheels were already in motion.

With three days left until he took office, Captain Derwin Brown was shot to death on December 15, 2000, in Decatur. For his part in Brown’s murder, Dorsey was sentenced to life. He also received 23 years for racketeering and violating the oath he took as sheriff. There were additional charges of theft.



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