by Bill Simon
Cover-up By Dawson County Sheriff’s Office (“DCSO”) Personnel
For nearly the past two months since August 23rd, I have been engaged in filing different Open Records Requests (“ORR”) with the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office.
To those people who are not part of the Georgia GOP Republican establishment (who are, for the most part, good little Fascists who believe the use of police is perfectly justified in destroying people you perceive to be political threats and enemies), several odd things occurred in the arrest of Nydia Tisdale.
In no particular order of importance, the first thing to discuss is the confiscation of her video-camera. She, along with the ENTIRE “public” was invited to a “public event.” What’s the difference between someone filming anything happening in a “public event” and anyone attending the event?
Here’s the copy of the Facebook invitation to this event to make sure we don’t forget that it was an open invitation by the Deal Campaign for Governor: Facebook Event Announcement.
So, Clint Bearden kicks off the rally on August 23rd, and while looking straight at Nydia’s camera, proceeds to introduce people to the event, and where the restrooms are, etc. (you see this transpire in Tisdale’s recording of the event).
Everyone should be wondering why, exactly, Nydia Tisdale’s video camera (her privately-owned property) was confiscated by Tony Wooten, the arresting officer, and not returned for 6 days?
In one of the Dawson County newspapers, I read a blurb that Sheriff Billy Carlisle claimed that the DCSO had obtained a search warrant to “legally” search the video camera. What right did they have to confiscate the video-camera in the first place? Anyone interested in the concept of “private property” should have been concerned with that confiscation (unless you are one of those people who conclude that everyone arrested should immediately be forfeited all their rights…e.g., if your name is Jon Richards, Seth Weathers, et al. in Ga. GOP politics).
So, I filed an ORR for a copy of this “search warrant” because I want to know the legal basis the DCSO had to confiscate and “search” the video-camera, and I wanted to know which Judge signed the warrant. This is the PDF response I received.
Recall that the premise of Nydia’s ejection was that (according to Bearden) they didn’t want anyone recording the event, and Bearden’s claim is that he and Wooten talked to Nydia and “politely” (in the words of Bearden and Johnny Burt, as written in newspapers) asked her to put down the camera and stop recording.
But, as we know from several sources, there were other recordings of the event. Brian Pritchard of FetchYourNews.com was there recording the event via an audio recorder. He was not told to stop recording. No one else was either.
If Bearden had been telling the truth about “Well, we were trying to make sure no Democrat trackers were there recording,” he would have made an announcement at the beginning that “You are not allowed to record this event, everyone please turn-off your cameras.” No such statement was ever made.
Seems to me (as it will seem to most juries) that singling-out one person in a roomful of people recording will not meet the burden of one person engaged in “criminal trespass” while the others recording the event didn’t meet that burden.
This story by Jim Galloway of the AJC describes the issue and the differences between the two recordings made at the event (Brian Pritchard’s and Nydia Tisdale’s). There are six screams from Nydia Tisdale in the Pritchard recording that were mysteriously missing from Nydia Tisdale’s camera after she got it back from Sheriff Carlisle.
Six screams she uttered in the course of experiencing Deputy Captain Tony Wooten physically assault and engage in what may have been froetteurism while Tisdale is helplessly pinned and bent over the counter in the barn.
That missing footage from Tisdale’s recording points to evidence tampering by one or more persons with the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office.
Most recently, the story leaking-out from several sources in Dawson County is that Tisdale’s video record was deliberately tampered with by DCSO personnel because they figured that District Attorney Lee Darragh could get it ruled to be inadmissable in court…thus denying Nydia Tisdale any semblance of a fair trial in Dawson County.
One wonders if this plot was dreamed-up entirely by DCSO personnel all on their own, or if Darragh suggested it to them, or if Bearden (who works for David Ralston, who is an experienced criminal defense attorney) may have suggested it, or who “dreamed” it up.
Makes one ALSO wonder how many times in the past has the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office engaged in evidence tampering to wrongly convict someone charged in the Dawson County jurisdiction?
But, evidence tampering is only part of the cover-up by the DCSO. To understand the rest, you need to understand what these three terms mean with regards to the official status of whether Tony Wooten was actually qualified to be making the arrest in the manner in which he made it:
In every single law enforcement department in this state, an employed law enforcement officer (“LEO”) is either On-Duty, Off-Duty, or on Extra-Duty (these are standard terms).
On-duty means the officer is on official duty, being paid with taxpayer dollars in his/her assigned role as an official LEO, acting on behalf of the public. That is, driving on public roads, monitoring public property, responding to emergency calls, etc., assigned by his/her supervisor.
Off-duty means exactly what you think it means.
Extra-duty, for personnel of the DCSO, is defined in one of their policy manuals, a PDF copy available here (obtained via ORR to DCSO).
Under Section E of this DCSO policy manual, Paragraph 2, is this definition of “Extra-Duty”:
“[A]ny employment that is conditioned on the actual or potential use of law enforcement powers by the off-duty employee.”
I filed an ORR to discover what the Duty Roster was for all personnel with the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office on August 23rd, 2014.
This is the email verbiage I received from Amanda Martin, Open Records Act Officer, describing the detailed work the human resource people did to compile this information.
For purposes of ease of you folks examining this information, I opened the Excel file, gridded the cells, and printed a PDF version of it, available here. But, if you so choose, feel free to download the Excel file as well.
As you can plainly see, Ladies & Gentlemen, the status of Captain Tony Wooten (shown as the 7th name from the top), as per the official Dawson County Sheriff’s Office Human Resource Records for the DCSO on Saturday, August 23rd, is that he was on “Extra-Duty.”
What does that mean? Well, while I will go thru all the legal detail shortly, in summary, it means Wooten, Carlisle, and maybe one or more other people in the DCSO are in deep sh*t because the DCSO’s own written policies on making arrests were not followed for Tisdale’s arrest. Not only were written policies broken, OCGA law was broken as well.
In that aforementioned Policy Manual for Off-Duty & Extra-Duty personnel, under Section H, this section specifically stipulates the conditions and procedures to follow in the event of an incident that an Extra-Duty LEO must follow:
“H. HANDLING OF INCIDENTS:
1. Whether employed in a regular off-duty/extra-duty position, Dawson County Sheriff’s Office sworn and certified employees shall respond to and take appropriate action when there is reasonable belief that the life or safety of another is threatened or when it is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
2. When the incident is not of a serious nature as described above, requires the employee to leave the scene of the outside employment, or when a vehicle accident occurs, the officer will request that an on-duty unit be dispatched to the scene to take charge of the incident.
3. The on-duty officer who responds to the incident scene will then be responsible for conducting a thorough investigation and will assume responsibility for completing all necessary reports.
5. All personnel engaged in off-duty employment are subject to call-out in case of emergency, and may be expected to leave his/her regular or extra-duty employment in such situations.”
Please note #1: “Whether employed in a regular off-duty/extra-duty position, Dawson County Sheriff’s Office sworn and certified employees shall respond to and take appropriate action when there is reasonable belief that the life or safety of another is threatened or when it is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
Was Nydia Tisdale, while seated and filming speakers, engaged in either a) threatening the life or safety of another, and/or b) about to commit a ‘forcible felony?’
Well, while Wooten fabricated the Offense on the Incident Report as “OBSTRUCTION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS BY THREATS OR VIOLENCE-F”, it is clear in the Tisdale video, as well as other pictures, AND witnesses who were there (those, at least, not intending to commit perjury on the witness stand), that there was no violent act, nor threat of a violent act by Tisdale.
So, since there was no threat to anyone’s safety or life at the time of Tisdale’s arrest, that means Wooten violated #1 of this Section H. In so doing, he also violated Paragraph 2, which stipulated: “2. When the incident is not of a serious nature as described above, requires the employee to leave the scene of the outside employment, or when a vehicle accident occurs, the officer will request that an on-duty unit be dispatched to the scene to take charge of the incident.”
Wooten did not call any on-duty unit before grabbing, mauling, and dragging Nydia Tisdale out of the area. He effected a physical assault all by himself, never told Tisdale she was being arrested, and never bothered to tell her his name.
So, along with violating #1 and #2 of Section H, Wooten also violated #3 because he filled-out the Incident Report, and #3 stipulates the following: “3. The on-duty officer who responds to the incident scene will then be responsible for conducting a thorough investigation and will assume responsibility for completing all necessary reports.”
Again, Wooten was NOT “on-duty” but was on Extra-Duty.
As a side note here, since Wooten falsely claimed Tisdale was involved in “threatening violence”, that falls under a violation of OCGA 16-10-20; knowingly and willfully making a false, fictitious and fraudulent statement. But, that’s not the only OCGA law Wooten violated.
Two other ORRs I made to DCSO involved the request for any documentation of an official request by Wooten that would allow him to BE at the event on Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in the capacity of being an Extra-Duty LEO on the premises. One of my many helpers in my research told me that every LE department had to have a written procedure for how LEOs could be used by private citizens for security, traffic-directing, etc., and that usually there was a requirement for a specific form to be filled-out in advance of the event to get permission.
This is the documentation of my first ORR related to me trying to get a copy of this type of document (read from the bottom email first) and the DCSO response to the first time I asked the question.
Then, when I reviewed that Policy Manual for Off/Extra Duty personnel, I discovered Section F, Application Procedures for any LEO requesting permission for engaging in an Extra-Duty assignment:
“1. GENERAL: Any employee desiring to engage in extra-duty or regular off-duty employment must submit the Off-Duty/Extra-Duty Employment Request to his/her immediate supervisor, through the chain-of-command, to the Division Commander for approval. A copy of the Off-Duty/Extra-duty Employment Request is attached to this SOP as ‘ANNEX A’.”
For his Extra-Duty status to work the Burt’s Pumpkin Farm event, Wooten, according to DCSO written policies, had to fill-out some ‘Annex A Form’ and get it approved. So, I sent another ORR specifically using the term “Annex A Form” to see if that was on record with DCSO, and this is their response again, stating that no such form that Wooten filled-out existed in the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office.
Now, is it just a “policy issue” regarding Wooten’s failure to get written permission to engage in Extra-Duty? No, it is not, actually. There is a specific OCGA law that applies. OCGA 16-10-3 applies to any LEO desiring to work off-duty or on extra-duty. Specifically, as it applies to this matter of Tony Wooten’s presence at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm, this is the section that was not adhered to:
OCGA 16-10-3(c)(1): “From being employed by private persons, firms, or corporations during his off-duty hours when such employment is approved in writing by the chief or head, or his duly designated agent, of the law enforcement agency by which such law enforcement officer is employed;”
So, no document currently exists, nor did one get created before the August 23rd event. But, I can imagine Sheriff Carlisle, Tony Wooten and whoever else at the DCSO fabricating a “document we just found!”…then, back-date it, back-sign it, get a notary public to back-notarize it, and continue the cover-up of Wooten’s actions (you know, when you’re already caught violating written policies, fabricating charges in writing against someone in violation of Georgia criminal statutes, engaging in deliberate evidence tampering, and conspiring with other people in violation of Georgia RICO laws, what’s another fabrication to add to the cover-up, right?).
So, one might wonder how it came to be that Wooten did find himself on the property? How does one get an LEO to come and act as security for an event held on private property?
So, another ORR was filed whereby I received this response.
Please take note of the simply fascinating revelation disclosed in the last paragraph that “…the text message is part of the internal investigation and will fall under 50-18-72(a)(8). This information will be available for release after the internal investigation is closed by our office.”
Why is this so fascinating to me? Well, a) that, apparently, someone I listed in my ORR did communicate directly to Tony Wooten via text messages to get him to attend the event on August 23rd, and b) that there is still an internal investigation going on as of October 6th.
Here’s the problem I have with “b”: According to this article in the
DawsonAdvertiser.com (which has an amazing display of Carlisle’s deep-seated concern for poor Tony Wooten and whether Wooten violated any department policy or procedures), the story makes reference to the fact that the “internal investigation” was turned around in 48 hours, and Wooten was “cleared” by Major Ray Goodie.
And yet, this ORR response I received from Amanda Martin states that as of October 6th, there is still an ongoing internal investigation.
I have to wonder if Major Ray Goodie actually did, himself, complete a full investigation into whether Tony Wooten’s activities broke department policies, and “cleared Wooten” of any wrongdoing, or did Carlisle just put on an act and no investigation was actually performed on Tony Wooten’s acts?
Because if Goodie did do an investigation and “cleared Wooten,” then Goodie also has significant involvement in the cover-up of Wooten’s violations of department policies, procedures, and state law.
Again, just look at the fact that the DCSO Human Resource Department stipulated that Tony Wooten was on Extra Duty, and the existence of Section H’s directives when it comes to LEO Off-Duty/Extra-Duty Employment in their G335-D Policy Manual (signed, by the way, by Sheriff Billy Carlisle). One does not need to “interview witnesses” to determine Wooten was in violation of those policies, along with state law.
BUT, since Carlisle brought it up, one wonders who those “three or four eyewitnesses” were that Carlisle claims he spoke to as published by this DawsonAdvertiser.com article: “Three or four eyewitnesses were interviewed at separate times, according to Carlisle.”
Which esteemed members of the crowd who attended the Burt’s Pumpkin Farm event on August 23rd provided “eyewitness accounts” to Carlisle? And, why doesn’t Sheriff Carlisle know, exactly, whether it was “three” or whether it was “four” witnesses?”
Now, I know what folks like Sheriff Carlisle and Tony Wooten (and, whoever else is involved in the cover-up at DCSO, in coordination with any “eyewitnesses” dumb enough to continue lying in this endeavor) are probably going to do as a result of this publication: Come-up with explanations that neutralize my allegations.
So, in anticipation of those acts, let’s examine possible claims by Sheriff Carlisle:
Excuse #1: “My own department’s Human Resources Department is wrong. Captain Tony Wooten was officially On-Duty on that Saturday.”
Rebuttal: If so, then why was Captain Tony Wooten, who was wearing a police radio with handset, unable to summon help on his own, and directed someone on the Burt’s Pumpkin Farm to call 911?
Here is a photo clearly showing Wooten (shown as the 3rd individual you see, with Clint Bearden being first, Richard Woods is speaking in the foreground as the 2nd person you see) wearing a radio on his left-side with a cord going up and across his chest where the handset is clipped to his shirt placket:
I filed an ORR to obtain a copy of the audio-recording of the 911-call. While that was declined, upon my modifying the request, what I did obtain was a 6-page PDF that was a transcription of the 911-call made from Burt’s Pumpkin Farm. You can read that here.
Now, while what was redacted included the identification of the specific person making the call, there is enough interesting information that was not redacted to get a clue as to what the 911-caller claimed.
First thing that struck me was on Page 1, down towards the bottom, in the Remarks section: “FML ADVISING THERE IS A FEMALE ON THE SCENE THAT BEGAN FILMING AND SHE WAS ASKED TO LEAVE BY THE OWNERS ON SCENE. SHE STARTED RAISING CAIN…FML ADVISING THAT TONY WOOTEN IS ASKING FOR ASSISTANCE AND TO GET PPL THERE NOW”.
Yeah, umm…that “FML” who made the 911 call is a freaking liar as it is clear on Tisdale’s video that she was holding a video-camera, and not uttering one sound, much less “RAISING CAIN” before Wooten grabbed her (but, hey, you folks in Dawson County just keep on lying as often as you folks do).
I’m guessing that in Dawson County, as long as you “good Christian folks” have signs like the one noted below seen on the wall inside the Burt’s Pumpkin Farm barn, you can commit any sin you want to, right? Lie, cheat, steal, molest pumpkins, have intercourse with farm animals and bend women over a counter while assaulting them…it’s all “okay” as long as you have a sign on the wall that is a cite from the Bible, right? Like this one seen over Wooten’s right shoulder: http://www.politicalvine.com/2014/dawsoncounty/Wooten-Christ3.jpg” alt=”Wooten-Christ3.jpg
But, of course, the real issue is why couldn’t Tony Wooten handle a 120-lb woman of which he had one of her arms yanked behind her back while she was shoved against the counter by his body being pressed-up against her rear-end?
A lot of the 911-transcript is “police radio code” that I have no idea how to interpret as is. However, a friend of PV used to work in LE some years ago, and he translated it into “English” as best he could on the codes he recognized. Feel free to browse that here.
From this translation, we have this interpretation: TWO separate, on-duty DCSO officers in separate patrol cars were dispatched at break-neck speed to race to a pumpkin farm because they thought poor, wittle Tony Wooten was in serious trouble or risk of loss of life (from a 120-lb woman he had already had firm control of).
So, again, if he was “on-duty,” then there was no need for a 911-call as Wooten had a police radio attached to his hip. (BUT, I’m certain Sheriff Carlisle will come-up with something to continue the cover-up and multiple lies.)
Excuse #2: “Captain Tony Wooten was not actually on the premises acting as a security guard. He was off-duty, and happened to be driving by the farm, when his sharp hearing (insert Six Million Dollar Man sound-effect here) picked-up a statement uttered by Clint Bearden about a woman illegally filming his candidates and he wished aloud that he had a cop around to eject her. Wooten yanked his steering wheel around and raced to the area of the farm in which the trouble was occurring, bounded over the giant pumpkins in one tremendous leap (again, insert Six Million Dollar Man sound effect here), where he was quickly briefed on the problem and directed by Johnny Burt to remove her.”
Rebuttal: Okay…you got me there. Or, do you? See, there are a few of these photos that show Wooten on the premises before the rally kick-off at 3:30 PM that day. So, you know, Sheriff Carlisle, if you have a plausible explanation for why Mr. Wooten can be seen here, in these various photos, before the event, ON private property (as opposed to “public property”), then, by all means, do share with the Dawson News & Advertiser (or any other news outlet who may ask you) what that explanation is:
Sheriff Carlisle, if you would like to declare that Wooten was “On-Duty,” then the only way that would work, legally, is that Burt’s Pumpkin Farm would have to be considered to be “public property” for this event (after all, it was, promoted as “Open To Public”). Want to go that route? Let us know.
Quite the legal conundrum here in Dawson County with regards to the unethical and illegal actions taken by Captain Tony Wooten, Sheriff Billy Carlisle, the Burts, various and sundry “eyewitnesses”, et al. in the assault and arrest of Nydia Tisdale. One wonders WHO would be qualified to investigate the DCSO?
Certainly not the Sheriff’s internal investigation staff. At best, Sheriff Billy Carlisle, after being Dawson County Sheriff for the past 15 years or so, is clueless as to his own department’s policies and the law with regard to extra-duty personnel. At worst, he is the mastermind of the entire cover-up by DCSO.
The DA of Dawson County? Nahhh…because sources say that District Attorney Lee Darragh and Captain Tony Wooten are BFFs (Best Friends Forever). Dawson County has a population of approximately 22,000. Everyone is everyone else’s mother, father, sister, brother, first cousin, etc…no one in Dawson County will do one damn thing to investigate these acts.
Judge Jason Deal of Hall County could request a GBI investigation…(okay, my gut nearly split open on that thought…).
Perhaps Attorney General Sam Olens could recognize a pretty serious breach of Georgia law, and direct the GBI to investigate. Chances are, though, that because Sheriff Carlisle’s name appeared on a list of sheriff endorsers of Olens’ reelection that he will opt to protect Carlisle rather than initiate a GBI investigation on Carlisle and his office.
So, golly…maybe U.S. Attorney Sally Yates and her FBI task force might find enough things out of whack in this Republican stronghold of Dawson County to think there might be enough smoke to uncover the fire and help rectify this situation of a slew of people, from folks in the Georgia Republican Party (as described in Part 1 of these Cover-up stories), to members of law enforcement in the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, who are ALL engaged in the deliberate denial of Nydia Tisdale’s rights to NOT be lied about, and NOT have her name smeared all over this state, and NOT be falsely accused, and NOT be falsely imprisoned, and NOT be facing “felony charges” from a bunch of liars.
Maybe…just maybe…someone with integrity will bring justice to this situation in Georgia.