Dawson County Middle School student charged with terroristic threats

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — At 8:54 a.m. on Friday, (March 15), the Dawson County School System received information from Gaggle that a Dawson County Middle School student attempted to send an email that was perceived to be a potential threat to the school or students.

Gaggle intercepted the email and notified school administrators and Safe Schools Coordinator Tony Wooteen of the potential threat.  Immediately after receiving the information, the issue was referred to the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office.

A 12-year-old student was immediately removed from class and charged with one count of Terroristic Threats and one count of Disruption of a Public School.  The investigation is ongoing by the sheriff’s office.

In a press release, School Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs said, “The Dawson County School System takes all threats seriously and, as always, the safety of our students is our top priority.  I want to thank Sheriff Johnson and his staff for acting quickly and handling the situation professionally.  The school system will deal with the student per the Code of Conduct to ensure the ongoing safety of our student body.

Gaggle is an educational partner that alerts school officials when students show signs of self harm, depression, thoughts of suicide, substance abuse, cyberbullying, and credible threats of violence against other students.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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Attorneys present closing arguments in Tisdale trial

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Defense attorney Catherine Bernard

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Attorneys made their closing arguments and Senior Superior Court Judge Martha Christian turned the case over to the jury around midday Monday in the trial of Nydia Tisdale on charges of obstruction of an officer and criminal trespassing.

The charges against Tisdale stem from a political rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in August 2014. The state argued that Tisdale, a “self-proclaimed” citizen journalist, refused repeated requests by owner Johnny Burt to stop filming the event then elbowed and kicked former Dawson County Sheriff Capt. Tony Wooten when he attempted to remove her.

In her closing argument, defense attorney Catherine Bernard said the case was about the notice Tisdale was given. “Nydia Tisdale was never asked (to stop filming) by anyone who had legal authority,” she said. “You can’t just tell somebody to get off somebody else’s property. You have to present some type of authority.”

Asst. D.A. Conley Greer

Assistant District Attorney Conley Greer countered by saying Clint Bearden identified himself as a representative of the owner when he asked Tisdale to stop filming.

Bernard said it wasn’t the Burts who initiated the request to stop filming, but Bearden, who claimed some of the campaigns were unhappy she was filming.

Greer said that doesn’t matter. “No matter the rationale (the owner) had every right to make that decision,” Greer added.

The basis of the state’s argument is that the case is about private property rights.

“If a person can’t be free on his own property to do with that property what he sees fit, can they ever be free?” Greer asked. “Ever?”

Tisdale could face up to five years in jail if convicted.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

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State presents case against “citizen journalist”

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Nydia Tisdale (left) confers with her defense team during Tuesday’s trial in Dawson County Superior Court.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Prosecutors presented a string of witnesses who testified Tuesday that self-proclaimed citizen journalist Nydia Tisdale refused repeated requests by Burt’s Pumpkin Farm owners to stop filming a political rally on their property in August 2014.

Event coordinator Clint Bearden testified that Tisdale ignored at least five requests to stop filming before she was physically removed by Dawson County Sheriff’s Captain Tony Wooten. Tisdale has been charged with one felony and one misdemeanor count of obstruction of an officer and criminal trespassing after the officer said she elbowed him in the face and kicked him in the shin.

Clint Bearden, an attorney and magistrate judge who is on a short list to become a state superior court judge, testified that he organized the event that included some of Georgia’s top politicians, including Gov. Nathan Deal and then U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue.

Bearden said he and Wooten talked to property owner Johnny Burt who wanted Tisdale to stop filming or leave. He said he asked her 3-4 times to stop and she ignored him. “I thought she was a little rude,” he said. “She said she had permission from the owners, but I told her I had just talked to Johnny Burt and she did not have permission.”

Johnny Burt testified that when Wooten told her to stop filming or leave “she just blurted out ‘No’. So I told him to get her out of here. She was screaming out that my wife told her she could film, and I told her that wasn’t true.”

Kasey Sanders, the Burts’ daughter testified that she was at the entrance when Tisdale arrived and that she never asked for permission. “She just said she was there to film for the governor,” Sanders said.

In an audio recording produced by Brian K. Pritchard of Fetch Your News, Tisdale can be heard screaming for Wooten to identify himself.

Wooten, who was dressed in a black polo shirt with a silver embroidered sheriff’s badge and khakis also had a badge on his belt, his service revolver and a police-issued radio.

Defense attorney Bruce Harvey asked Wooten why he didn’t immediately identify himself. Wooten responded that his first responsibility was the safety of the crowd. “I didn’t know her or what her intentions were,” he said. He said once he got her away from the crowd and she calmed down, he did identify himself.

The trial continues Wednesday in Dawson County Superior Court.

After the jury was dismissed for the day, Judge Martha Christian denied a motion to quash a subpoena for Gov. Nathan Deal who is expected to testify before the end of the week.

The state is expected up wrap up its case Wednesday before the defense begins calling its witnesses.

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Closing arguments set Monday in Tisdale trial

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Attorneys Conley Greer (seated) and defense attorney Bruce Harvey talk during court recess.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Closing arguments are expected Monday in the long-delayed trial of Nydia Tisdale, the self-proclaimed citizen journalist charged with felony obstruction of an officer following a 2014 Republican rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm.

Senior State Superior Court Judge Martha Christian could have continued the trial today (Dec. 2) but indicated she was aware of a special event taking place today that could be a distraction, referring to the Georgia vs. Auburn SEC Championship game in Atlanta.

Tisdale is also charged with misdemeanor obstruction and criminal trespassing. She could face up to five years in prison if convicted.

Nydia Tisdale charged with felony obstruction of an officer.

The state contends that Tisdale ignored the property owners’ repeated demands to stop filming the rally or leave, then struck and kicked former Dawson County Sheriff’s Captain Tony Wooten when he attempted to remove her.

On the witness stand Friday, Tisdale admitted she had been told on three separate occasions to stop filming but said, “In my mind, he didn’t have any authority to demand that of me.” Tisdale repeatedly said she had the permission of Burt’s Pumpkin Farm co-owner Kathy Burt to film the event.

However, Burt and her daughter, Kasey Sanders, greeted Tisdale when she arrived and both testified the defendant never asked permission. They said she indicated she was there filming for Gov. Nathan Deal, who also attended the rally. Burt said she felt like Tisdale misrepresented herself.

There were other apparent inconsistencies in Tisdale’s testimony. She said as she was being detained by Wooten, she heard Burt say she did not want to press charges. However, Burt denied saying that and an audio recording on Tisdale’s camera picked up no such statement by Burt.

Judge Martha Christian considers objection from defense counsel.

Tisdale also testified that she never hit Wooten but Morris Petit, who testified for the state, said he witnessed the defendant strike the officer, “around the facial area, the neck. That was almost immediate.”

Defense attorney Bruce Harvey subpoenaed Gov. Nathan Deal, who occupied a front row seat near Tisdale at the rally, but Christian quashed the subpoena.

She also denied a motion by Harvey for a directed verdict.

Other leading state officials, including former Attorney General Sam Olens, Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and State School Superintendent Richard Woods did testify this week. All said they had no objection to Tisdale filming the event.

Hudgens, one of the first state officials to speak at the event, testified he did not talk to anyone about getting rid of Tisdale or stopping her from filming.

However, Clint Bearden, an attorney who is on the short list to become a state superior court judge, testified on rebuttal that Hudgens was outraged by being filmed and wanted Tisdale to stop.

Bearden said he told Burt’s Pumpkin Farm co-owner Johnny Burt that some of the campaigns were concerned about being filmed, and Burt responded by saying, “Tell her to turn off the camera.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nydia Tisdale obstruction trial finally begins

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The long-awaited trial of Nydia Tisdale, the self-proclaimed citizen journalist charged with two counts of obstruction of an officer, began today (Nov. 27) in Dawson County Superior Court.

Tisdale was arrested by Dawson County Sheriff’s Captain Tony Wooten in August 2014 while filming a political candidate rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawson County. If convicted, she could face five years in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Conley Greer

Tisdale claims she had the property owner’s permission to film the event. However, owners, Johnny and Kathy Burt, told Dawsonnews.com Tisdale misled them. They say they asked Wooten to tell her to stop filming or leave their property. Wooten says when she refused to stop filming, he arrested her. According to the arrest warrant, Tisdale elbowed Wooten in the face and kicked him in the shin.

Day one of the trial began with several motions by Defense Attorney Bruce Harvey and Assistant District Attorney Conley Greer. Senior Superior Court Judge Martha Christian said she would rule on motions prior to hearing opening statements.

Jury selection is expected to continue through late Tuesday (Nov. 28), followed by opening statements by both attorneys.

Defense Attorney Bruce Harvey

Fetch Your News owner Brian K. Pritchard attended the rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm on the day Tisdale was arrested. It was his audio recording and subsequent reporting of the incident that attracted state and national attention. Pritchard said he has been subpoenaed by the state and is expected to testify this week.

The arrest sparked outrage by the mainstream media and political activists who claim Tisdale’s First Amendment rights had been violated. Property rights advocates, on the other hand, say property owners have every right to evict someone from their property.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 


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Three-year wait ends as Tisdale trial begins Monday

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Jury selection begins Monday in Dawson County Superior Court in the long-awaited trial of Nydia Tisdale, the self-proclaimed citizen journalist charged Aug. 2014 with trespassing and felony obstruction of an officer.

Tisdale was arrested by Dawson County Sheriff’s Captain Tony Wooten while filming a political candidate rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawson County. She could face five years in prison if convicted.

Fetch Your News owner Brian K. Pritchard attended the rally. It was his audio recording and subsequent reporting of the incident that attracted state and national attention. Pritchard has been subpoenaed by the state and is expected to testify next week.

Citizen journalist Nydia Tisdale faces five years in prison if convicted of obstruction of an officer.

Tisdale claims she had the property owner’s permission to film the event. But owners, Johnny and Kathy Burt, told Dawsonnews.com Tisdale misled them. They say they asked Wooten to tell her to stop filming or leave their property. Wooten says when she refused to stop filming, he arrested her.

According to the arrest warrant, Tisdale elbowed Wooten in the face and kicked him in the shin.

The arrest sparked outrage by the mainstream media and political activists who claim Tisdale’s First Amendment rights had been violated. Property rights advocates, on the other hand, say property owners have every right to evict someone from their property.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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Johnson Elected Dawson County Sheriff

News, Politics

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Jeff Johnson eked out a narrow victory over Tony Wooten in Tuesday’s General Primary runoff to be elected Dawson County Sheriff. Johnson will replace long time top cop Billy Carlisle who is resigning at the end of this year.

Johnson received 1,890 votes or 52.07 percent of the total votes cast to Wooten’s 1,740 votes or 47.93 percent.

Johnson a Major in the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, campagned on his many years of experience and by emphasizing the need to retain experienced personnel. He was able to reverse the results of the four-candidate General Primary election in which Wooten took 36 percent of the vote to his 27 percent.

In the race for tax commissioner, Nicole Stewart defeated Andi Henson Juliette with 1,889 votes or 53.8 percent of the total votes cast to Juliette’s 1,624 votes or 46.2 percent.

“I’m so humbled and blessed for everyone’s support,” Stewart said after the election. “I would like to thank everyone who helped with my campaign. I couldn’t have done it without each of you. I’m beyond excited to be your Tax Commissioner and look forward to continue serving my community.”

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Runoff Races Front and Center in Dawson, Lumpkin today

News, Politics

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Georgians will head back to the polls today to decide key races, including several in Dawson and Lumpkin counties.

In Dawson County, voters will vote in a new sheriff and tax commissioner.
The sheriff candidates are veteran law enforcement officers Captain Tony Wooten and Major Jeff Johnson. Nicole Stewart and Andi Henson Juliette are competing for the tax commissioner job.

In Lumpkin County, voters will choose who they want to represent them on the county commission in District 2 and in the coroner’s office. Steve Shaw is the incumbent Dist. 2 commissioner and Bobby Mayfield is the challenger.

The candidates for coroner are Amanda Jones-Holbrooks and Jim Sheppard. Jones-Holbrooks was arrested earlier this month on a felony charge of first-degree forgery and is awaiting trial. Sheppard is a veteran law enforcement officer who will resign at the end of this year after 28 years of service.

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