Capt. Tony Wooten with the Dawson County Sheriff's Office has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the arrest investigation of a Roswell woman over the weekend.
Sheriff Billy Carlisle on Friday morning said the internal affairs probe he launched to determine if protocol was followed in the arrest of Nydia Tisdale on Saturday proved Wooten lawfully performed his duties as a law enforcement officer.
"All the witnesses we've talked to...concludes Capt. Wooten was acting in the lawful performance of his duties at the request of the property owner to have Ms. Tisdale to stop recording and when she refused, to have her removed from the property," Carlisle said.
Wooten was placed on paid leave administrative leave Wednesday, a standard procedure when an officer is part of an internal affairs probe according to Carlisle, while investigators reviewed evidence and interviewed witnesses to the arrest that took place during a political rally at Burt's Pumpkin Farm.
"With that being said, I'm bringing Tony Wooten back in and meeting with him at 1 o'clock today and putting him back on full duty status with all allegations clearing him of any wrongdoings," Carlisle said.
A ruckus ensued after Tisdale, who calls herself a "citizen journalist," refused to stop recording the political speakers when asked.
Johnny Burt, who owns the popular tourist spot near Amicalola Falls State Park, maintains he instructed Wooten to have Tisdale stop recording.
"I told him, ‘Have her cut the recorder off.' He went up to her and she refused," Burt said. "Then I told him to get her out. He asked to her leave politely, very politely, and she refused to leave. So he had no choice but to forcefully remove her," he said. "Tony only done what he was asked to do by the property owner and that was me."
Had Tisdale cooperated with the request to stop recording, Burt said she could have stayed.
"If she had in the least cooperated, just cut her camera off, and sat there through the meeting and asked all the questions she wanted to at the end, it would have perfectly fine. But she misrepresented herself to start with," he said.
The Burts contend Tisdale misled them by saying she was at the event with the governor's camp.
"What she did is she came in and told my wife and daughter that she was there with the governor to record him, so we thought she was part of their party," Burt said Tuesday. "She misled my daughter and my wife.
"She promptly sat down on the front row on the end where she would be right in their face and was making everybody uncomfortable."
As Wooten attempted to escort her away from the area, Tisdale allegedly kicked him in shin and struck him the face.
The 51-year-old was later charged with felony obstruction of an officer and criminal trespass, a misdemeanor. She was later released on $6,200 bond.
Tisdale admits to protesting her removal.
"Before I knew it, my arm was being forced behind my back and I was being shoved and pushed outside the tent and past the audience and up an incline. I protested. I didn't know who he was," she said.
Wooten was wearing a department-issued black polo shirt with the Dawson County Sheriff's logo on the front left side. He was also wearing a badge and his firearm was visible, according to Carlisle.
Carlisle said investigators opted against interviewing Tisdale in connection with the internal affairs probe into Wooten's performance as a law enforcement officer.
As for the criminal case against Tisdale, she said she's done nothing wrong.
"I wasn't bothering anybody. I wasn't talking. I wasn't asking questions. I wasn't heckling. I wasn't disruptive. I was sitting there quietly with my camera on record and that was it, and no one had objected at all to my camera," she said.
"I have to defend myself in court. The second [charge] is obstruction of officer, and I'm told that is a felony. I need to get these charges dropped or resolved or settled or whatever."
While she has not filed a grievance with the sheriff's office, Tisdale said she received bruises during the arrest, which she described as traumatizing.
"I'm sore along my abdomen area. My husband took me to the doctor to examine me and did an X-ray to see if my pelvic bone was fractured, and it was not, luckily. I do have a lot of pain in that area," she said.
Carlisle said she and her attorney are set to meet with authorities today to pick up her video camera, which was taken into evidence when she was arrested.