Richmond Co. Sheriff: Woman was arrested for obstructing law en - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Richmond Co. Sheriff: Woman was arrested for obstructing law enforcement

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office continues their internal investigation involving woman who says a deputy mistreated her. In the video, you can see Ruth Jean, 24, on the ground. She and members from her church were in town for a conference.

"When I was on the floor, he had his knees on my back, and he was pulling my hair, but my hands were already like this," Jean said, as she puts her hands behind her back. "I don't know why he was doing that, until two other cops came and they told him to back off. And he put me in a choke."

The incident erupted over the weekend in the Denny's parking lot on Washington Road. After one of their pastors was arrested, the group came outside. We showed the video to Sheriff Ronnie Strength.

"Many times, most of it is left out," Sheriff Strength said. "And the only part that was shown is the arrest. But something initiated the arrest. And I sure hope that is on camera also."

Sheriff Strength says he was told Jean was blocking the deputy's car so he could not drive away. That's where our video starts. He says he would not comment on the video because of the investigation. Fox54 took this exclusive video to the streets.

"It seems like excessive use of force," said Matthew Wieberdink after watching the video. "Like, you can handcuff somebody, and have them stand on somewhere else. You don't have to beat them.

"It did not look like excessive force to me," said Ben Davis, an ex-military member. 

Whether excessive force was used or not, Jean is charged with obstruction of law enforcement. She was released on bond, and returned to her home in Florida.

 

Nov. 12: The woman on the ground is Ruth Jean, 24. She was visiting Augusta for a church conference over the weekend. She says this Richmond County deputy struck her multiple times with his baton.

 "It hurt so bad; really bad," Jean said. "He shoved me on the ground and pulled my hair. As he was pulling my hair I was screaming, 'You're pulling my hair! You're pulling my hair!' but he wouldn't stop until the other cops came and really backed him off, because I soiled myself."

After a late-night service, Jean and several members of the conference went to the restaurant just before midnight. After helping her park her car, her pastor was confronted by Deputy William Geisen.

 "He said it again very aggressively, 'What did you say!' and I said, 'I was talking to my pastor and church members,' and then he just grabbed my arm, pulled me about 10 feet, threw me on the back of his police car," said Pastor Brandon Young.

Jean and other members of the church walked over to the officer's car. That's when Jean said the deputy pushed her. We asked the Richmond County Sheriff's Office for comment on the incident.

"Any time we arrest people, they're going to complain," said Sheriff Ronnie Strength. "We expect that. But until somebody shows me that officer did something wrong, I'm going to be supportive of the officer."

So we showed Sheriff Strength the video one of the church members recorded from the scene. He said he would not comment on what he saw in the video.

"We're going to do the right thing," Sheriff Strength said. "I've been here 36 years, we have not hid anything yet. We'll lay it on the table. If we're wrong we're wrong; if we're right we're right."

Original Story:

Nov. 11: Fox 54 obtained video of a Richmond County deputy  wrestling with a young woman in the parking lot of a Denny's restaurant off Washington Road Friday night.  Ruth Jean, 24, was in Augusta for a church conference. She said the deputy struck her multiple times with his baton.
 
"It hurt so bad; really bad," Jean said. "He shoved me on the ground and pulled my hair. As he was pulling my hair I was screaming, ‘You're pulling my hair! You're pulling my hair!' but he wouldn't stop until the other cops came and really backed him off, because I soiled myself."
 
This video was recorded by Michael Mathurin, one of the members visiting for the conference. After a late-night service, Jean and several members of the conference went to the restaurant just before midnight. After eating, her pastor was confronted by Deputy William Geisen.
 
"He asked me, screaming at me, ‘What did you say!'" said Pastor Brandon Young, one of the church members. "I was just kind of stunned and paused, and I said, ‘I was talking to my pastor and church members,' and he said it again very aggressively, ‘What did you say!' and I said, ‘I was talking to my pastor and church members,' and then he just grabbed my arm, pulled me about 10 feet, threw me on the back of his police car."
 
That's when Jean and other members of the church came outside. Pastor Young, Jean, and her 16-year-old brother, Wisely were all arrested. Jean says the deputy who repeatedly hit her was also the one who issued the three citations.
 
"I'm still in shock," said Wisely Jean, Ruth Jean's 16-year-old brother. "I keep thinking this is a dream. I still can't believe this happened to my sister."
 
Jean, her brother and Pastor Young were released on bond Saturday afternoon. Jean and her brother are being charged with obstruction of justice; Pastor Young with disorderly conduct.
 
Fox54 spoke with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. They said now that Fox54 has brought the incident to their attention, this matter will be investigated and all parties will be held accountable.

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