A Rincon City Councilman who has a history in meddling in law enforcement activities was captured on camera referring to an Effingham County Sheriff’s deputy as an ‘a**hole’ after the councilman was told not to meddle in police business.
That’s what records recently obtained by TheGeorgiaVirtue.com show, along with another video in which the same councilman is seen telling Rincon police officers that his son wouldn’t be going to jail after he violently assaulted a police officer.
Both incidents involve Rincon Councilman Levi Scott, who is among the elected officials urging citizens to contact their council members if they are pulled over by the police.
August 31, 2023
An Open Records Request was filed with the Effingham County 911 center for calls for service at various locations including Cuts by Eric. An Open Records Request was then filed with the City of Rincon for the body camera footage of the incidents at that location on the dates and times listed in the Incident Report log.
This incident was previously reported by TGV News. You can read about it at length here, however, body camera footage from Rincon PD was obtained in the most recent records request and showed the interaction between Scott and the ECSO deputy at the conclusion of a traffic stop in which Scott and a business owner attempted to meddle.
ECSO Deputy Handshumaker is seen explaining to Scott that he called for backup and Rincon PD was closest, prompting their officers to arrive first. He also explains that the stop has nothing to do with the business, Cuts by Eric, as that was simply where the motorist pulled over for the stop. While Handshumaker and Eric Hill are conversing, Scott turns around to Sgt. Hayes of Rincon PD to say, “The rest of your guys can go because this is a conversation, just talking.”
Deputy Handshumaker interrupts Scott and points at Hayes to say, “Do not leave. Alright.” He then turns to the other officers in the background and instructs them not to leave either.
“I said I was out here, they came to support me so they will not leave until I’m done now, Mr. Scott. I am trying to be very professional with you. It’s not your place, ”Handshumaker says. “When I ask for a backup, I will get who I want and when I want it and they will stay until I ask them to leave.”
Scott can be heard saying repeatedly, “I have no problem with you,” as he explains he took Eric Hill back inside the business after he made comments toward Handshumaker at the beginning of the traffic stop. He said he only brought him back out after being asked so he could explain the business wasn’t being harassed.
At the conclusion of the stop, Scott tells Sgt Hayes that Handshumaker was ‘an asshole’ to which Hayes replied, ‘Okay.’
September 12, 2018
The year 2023 is not exclusive for Councilman Scott’s behavior. A few years prior, he attempted to keep law enforcement from taking his son to jail on two felony charges following an incident in which EMS says they heard was an ‘induced event – possibly drug induced.’
On this date, officers responded to a location to find a male named Levi Alonza Scott, the son of Councilman Levi Scott. The call was in regard to a 40-year-old male who had fallen. A police investigation would later indicate that Scott had a history of drug use, according to his mother, but neither she nor his wife/girlfriend were aware of what he may have been under the influence of at the time.
EMS was also on scene and after evaluating the younger Scott, determined he needed to be transported to the hospital because his heart rate was dangerously high. Scott replied that he would not be going to the hospital and he did not care if he died, according to the incident report. Scott then reportedly tried to stand up, which EMS did not want him to do under their care.
According to his report, Rincon Police Officer Charles Futch asked Scott to calm down, at which time Scott grabbed the officer by the neck and started pushing him backwards.
From the report:
“I was worried that Mr. Scott was going to knock me off balance and that I would fall. I then grabbed Mr. Scott and was able to go under Mr. Scott’s arms and remove his hands from my neck area. I then pushed Mr. Scott into a brick wall of the home, advising him he needed to calm down (this command was given several times and ignored by Mr. Scott).
“Mr. Scott continued to ignore my commands and instead, he decided that he was going to push me again. While pushing me backwards, Mr. Scott picked me up by the top of my vest (near my neck area), where he was able to get a grip. In doing s, Mr. Scott was able to lift me off my feet (off the ground0 and slammed me onto a glass table in the garage. Once he slammed me on the glass table, with hands around my neck area of my uniform, I felt Mr. Scott’s fist balled up and began rubbing against the right side of my neck with one hand and the other on the left side of my chin. At this time, Mr. Scott caused injuries to the right side of my neck…I knew that Mr. Scott could not be reasoned with and that he had placed me at a position of disadvantage and was attempting to cause me harm…EMS units attempted to remove Mr. Scott from on top of me, but they were not successful. I then pushed my body weight off of the table, caught my balance, and was able to place my arms under his armpits and assisted Mr. Scott to the ground. Due to Mr. Scott holding on to me when I attempted to take him down, we both fell on the ground and started rolling around.
At this time I felt that Mr. Scott was trying to gain dominance…by getting on top of me, to cause me more harm. During this time while on the ground Mr. Scott again put his hand on the left side of my face and squeezed it (which caused an abrasion on the left side of my face by my eye. So I rolled on top of Mr. Scott while he was still holding on to my face…and used a hard closed hand strike to his left side of his face (around the jaw), in order for him to let go of my face, while telling him to let go of my face (which he ignored).
The report goes on about the skirmish until Scott was detained, at which time he told the officer “I’m going to fuck you up if I get out of these handcuffs.” He was asked again to calm down and was taken by EMS to the hospital.
Scott’s sister thanked Officer Futch for his work with her brother, according to the report, and apologized for his behavior. The elder Levi Scott eventually showed up on scene and initially tried to neutralize the situation, telling his son needed to comply with officers. But while at the hospital, Councilman Scott sang a different tune.
“He resisted, that’s right. We understand that. But I need to know – they need to keep him here [the hospital] tonight or he needs to go home,” Councilman Scott told the officer.
Officer Matt Estes is heard in the body camera footage explaining that he cannot make medical decisions for anyone, but says “If he waives treatment, then he goes with us. And if he is deemed okay to go on his own, then he also goes with us.”
Councilman Scott then asks the officer for then-Chief Ramirez’s cell phone number, who he then calls and for whom he leaves a voicemail.
Estes wrote in his report that he had instructed nurses to bar any additional visitors to the younger Scott because he was under arrest, however, his father, Councilman Scott, continued to remain in the room against the instruction.
Ultimately, Levi Alonza Scott was transported from Effingham Hospital to Memorial in Savannah, but warrants were taken out against him and he was charged with the following five days later:
- Obstruction of Law Enforcement (felony)
- Simple Battery
- Terroristic Threats (Felony)
A supplemental report by Officer Kurtis Smith stated that he obtained a search warrant for medical records pertaining to Scott on September 16, 2018 and there were multiple references to amphetamines and benzodiazepines, for which he tested positive at the hospital.
*The body-worn camera of Officer Futch was destroyed in the fight.
A GBI Investigation?
It has long been rumored that Chief Jose Ramirez approached the city manager at the time and sought to begin the process with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation into the acts of Councilman Levi Scott. Under Georgia’s protocols, only a police chief, sheriff, or district attorney may request an investigation by the GBI.
No GBI investigation was ever initiated, however, and Ramirez was terminated from his position four months later for insubordination.