Prosecutor Moves to Dismiss Charges Against Woman in Sylvania PD Video, Officer Reprimanded

The criminal charges against a woman seen on video taken to the ground by Sylvania police will not go any further due to paperwork filed by the county prosecutor. The officer in the video has also been reprimanded for his language.

The video of the November incident garnered the attention of the public after it was published on TheGeorgiaVirtue.com last week. The incident between Sylvania Police Corporal Jonathan Simpson and a woman, identified by TGV only as [A.T] involved in a domestic dispute prompted questions from the community about whether or not the situation should have been de-escalated by Simpson. You can read more about that here.

A.T. was subsequently charged with Disorderly Conduct and Obstruction of Law Enforcement and booked into the Screven County Jail. 

The Sylvania Police Department filed arrest citations in the clerk’s office on November 27th. Paperwork was promptly filed by Millen defense attorney Duff Ayers notifying the court that he would be representing the woman. Ayers also filed a motion to quash the arrest citations, prompting the scheduling of a motions hearing for next week. 

In the motion, Ayers argued the following:

  • A.T. was unlawfully arrested, and
  • the Sylvania Police Department erroneously arrested A.T. by using Arrest Citations for the charges of Disorderly Conduct and Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer. Under Georgia law, arrest citations are only permitted for certain charges* (*including criminal trespass, shoplifting, theft by refund fraud, and misdemeanor marijuana possession)

But that hearing will not take place now, nor will any other proceedings on the case. 

Screven County Solicitor Evelyn Hubbard filed paperwork Wednesday to dismiss the charges, ending the prosecution process of the woman in the video. 

TheGeorgiaVirtue.com reached out to Ayers for a comment on the dismissal. The following statement was provided:

We commend Screven County State Court Solicitor General Evelyn Hubbard for dismissing this case. Ms. Hubbard received this case file late last week and independently investigated the facts and reviewed all applicable law. She reached the right and just conclusion: [A.T.] did not commit a crime. 

[A.T.] and her family are humbled by and appreciate the outpouring of prayers and support that they have received from the community. They now request privacy as they recover and heal from this terrifying, traumatic, and outrageous incident. 

–Duff Ayers, attorney for [A.T.]
Internal Affairs Investigation into Simpson’s Actions

Sergeant Norman Royal of the Sylvania Police Department conducted an Internal Affairs Investigation and found that Simpson ‘violated the Standard Operating Procedure for the Sylvania Police Department Standards of Conduct.” Specifically, the investigation found that Simpson ‘escalated an incident instead of de-escalating’ as a supervisor. 

The investigation was initiated after A.T. filed a complaint indicating that she was wrongfully arrested and treated unfairly. 

Royal’s report indicated that he spoke with both Simpson and the other officer on scene, Nash Rigdon. Highlights from Royal’s report include:

  • Royal determined Simpson escalated the situation ‘somewhat’ by the language he used’ but that when the woman was placed in handcuffs, his language ‘was back to normal’ and he helped her from the ground. 
  • Simpson admitted to Royal that he used profane language and wished he’d spoken to the woman in a different manner, but otherwise would not have done anything differently.
  • Royal concluded that A.T. ‘swung’ at Simpson after pulling away from him during the encounter. 
  • Rigdon said in his interview that he thought the incident ‘went well’ and he did not see how it could have been handled better.

You can read the complete investigation file below. Story continues below.

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Reprimand 

In a written reprimand by Chief Shane Burke, Burke told Simpson that after reviewing the video, he “found the language used during this particular incident was unprofessional, especially coming from a supervisor.”

“I also felt that this scene could have been de-escalated instead of escalating into what transpired, even though you told the person multiple times to get off the property,” Burke wrote. “Based on Sgt. Royals findings and me watching the video, I am recommending the following be done within a six-month period. A de-escalation class must be taken as well as an ethics and professionalism class.”

Burke also wrote that City Manager Stacy Mathis wanted the probation period for Simpson’s promotion to corporal to be extended. 

He remains employed by the Sylvania Police Department. 

Investigation into Simpson as a law enforcement officer similarly revealed that he worked for six agencies in ten years and had been fired from three of them. More on that here.

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast.'

Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

1 Comment

  1. Thanks Jessica for reporting the facts in this case. The arresting officer should be fired. I don’t think an extended probation period or ethics classes are going to help him. Also, what a chump Rigdon is, “Rigdon said in his interview that he thought the incident ‘went well’ and he did not see how it could have been handled better.” City of Sylvania needs to cut both loose.

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