The conduct of Deputy Henry Wooten was at issue in the case against video journalist Nydia Tisdale (which has now received national attention.) Wooten had been placed on temporary leave following his arrest of Tisdale, during a political event in Dawson County on Saturday, August 23, 2014.It appears that the internal investigation commenced on the Monday following the event (August 25th). It was completed by August 27th (2 days later).
Dawson County Sheriff’s office has informed FYN that documents related to the case are in route. According to Georgia open records laws, public officials are given 72 hours to respond to such requests by media sources. The request can be either verbal or in writing. (You may view the actual requests below).
In this case, it was both.
During a telephone interview with Dawson County Sheriff, Billy Carlisle, at 4:15 p.m. on August 29th, FYN verbally requested the documents. FYN then made a written request for the same documents on September 2nd at 4:15 p.m.
Video journalist Nydia Tisdale was arrested while filming political stump speeches at a Republican campaign event at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawsonville, Georgia. The Governor and several office holders, as well as candidates were in attendance.
Although other journalists were noticeably taping the event- and Tisdale claims that co-host, Mrs. Burt greeted her knowing her purpose for attendance, she was quickly asked to leave by Wooten. When she failed to do so, she was forcibly removed from the event.
Notably, Wooten was not in uniform. A FYN reporter witnessing the scene remembers Wooten approaching Tisdale from the back; placing his arms around her while he attempted to grab the camera in front of her.
Tisdale regularly films these events which she posts on a website. Although her website invites donations, she is not employed or under contract to supply the video tapes.
Because Tisdale is facing felony charges for obstructing an officer, the matter will be heard in Superior Court.
One of the four judges in the Northeastern Judicial Circuit in which her case will be heard is Jason Deal, son of Governor Nathan Deal.
Deal is also a former Dawson County Attorney (and, hence, former legal counsel, for the very sheriff’s department that arrested Tisdale.)
This is relevant because, Governor Nathan Deal is one of approximately 75 people who are witnesses to the event. Evidence of the sticky political web within Dawson County causes one to wonder if Nydia Tisdale can receive a fair trial.
In fact, Governor Deal claimed to be host to the event on an advertisement within his face book page.
FYN talked with Dawson County District Attorney; Lee Darragh, yesterday about whether a Grand Jury set to convene on Monday (September 8th) will address the Tisdale charges.
Darragh said that he had not made a decision yet on the case but that, should he decide to refer the case to the Grand Jury, he is not obligated to do so by September 8th.
Should the matter be stalled until the next Grand Jury cycle, which takes place six months from now, Tisdale’s Case could be heard as late as February.
It remains to be seen whether Tisdale will receive a trial date before,or after, the gubernatorial election.