Editor’s note: Video in this story includes explicit language. Viewer discretion is advised.
TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – Authorities have released body camera footage from a viral weekend arrest on Tybee Island, stating that the police chief has determined the officers involved took appropriate action.
A Facebook video showing three people being arrested on Tybrisa Street was posted overnight Saturday and quickly circulated the platform. Many commenters claimed the Tybee Island Police Department officers used excessive force in some of the arrests.
According to an incident report, the situation unfolded around midnight at Rock House, a bar and grill, when a bouncer called officers over.
The report says a young woman, later identified as 21-year-old Olivia Simons, was attempting to take her identification card from the bouncer. The responding officer reported he believed Simons and/or the woman she was with may have been under the legal drinking age and may have been using a stolen or fake ID.
The officer took Simons’ card from the bouncer, who said: “she handed me this, telling me this is her.” That’s when Simons “snatched” the card and “immediately fled the scene.”
The body camera video shows the officer chasing Simons — and the woman she was with — saying “she’s going to get tased,” just before Simons tripped. However, according to the incident report, the officer did not have any contact with her before she tripped.
The officer grabbed hold of Simons, telling her to put her hands behind her back, and she “failed to comply,” continuing to resist arrest. He eventually tased her and was able to place her in handcuffs.
During the arrest, a crowd formed around the officer and Simons. Two people, including a woman identified as Alecia Adams, began yelling at officers.
According to the incident report, Adams, “refused to calm down, despite her husband telling her to stop. She continuously voiced her opinions, as load as she could, using extremely vulgar language.”
Additional officers arrived on scene, one arresting Adams. According to the report, she resisted being placed into a patrol vehicle and bit an officer several times. A taser was used and two officers were eventually able to get her under control and into the vehicle.
Adams was charged with disorderly conduct, obstruction, public drunkenness and willful obstruction of law enforcement by use of threats or violence and interference.
Meanwhile, as an officer was still attempting to get Simons under control, a man identified as Richard Stutts “grabbed onto [the officer’s’] outer vest carrier” telling the officer to get off of her and using explicit language.
Another officer arrived to assist with the situation as Stutts continued to yell and use explicit language.
According to the report, officers “decided [Stutts] needed to be arrested for disorderly conduct,” and as one officer attempted to grab Stutts, he pulled away and eventually began hitting the officer. The officer hit back, bringing Stutts to the ground. He reported feeling a hand on his gun before he “pushed it off and rotated it away from Mr. Stutts.”
According to the report, Stutts continued to push and pull and the officer tased him to get him into handcuffs.
The officer stated: “I then noticed my radio was on the ground and the holster had broken during the altercation, I also realized the hood, and first level of retention, on my firearm had been defeated and was in the open position.”
Stutts was arrested for simple battery against law enforcement, removal or attempted removal of weapon from public official, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, obstruction, willful obstruction of law enforcement by use of threats or violence, and interference with government property.
Simons was booked on the following charges: public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, obstruction and willful obstruction of law enforcement by use of threats or violence.
On Monday, the Tybee Island Police Department released a statement on the situation, saying that they are aware of the viral video and understand it may have been disturbing to some but that, “the video we’ve seen starts well after the initial incident has begun and lacks context.”
The department also stated that their police chief reviewed body camera footage and determined “the actions taken were acceptable under the circumstances.”
“This is an ongoing investigation and additional arrest(s) are likely to follow,” the statement reads. “Know that the Tybee Island Police Department takes citizen complaints very seriously and will continue to do so as we move forward into the future.”