VIDEO: Woman says Tybee Police officers used excessive force


TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – A lot of people are reacting to a video on social media that apparently shows a Tybee Island police officer tackling 21-year-old Olivia Simons to the ground.

“It breaks your heart,” says Annie Simons, the woman’s mother. “It was…upsetting.”

Simons’ mother says it started late Saturday night when Simons and her friends went to Rock House, a bar on Tybee Island’s south end.

Tybee Mayor Jason Buelterman says the bouncer thought she was underage and too drunk to go into the bar. He says the bouncer took her ID and called police officers who were steps away.

When the bouncer took the ID, Simons’ mother says her daughter walked away.

According to the mayor, the bouncer gave Simons’ ID to a police officer and she snatched it from him.

“They heard…police saying ‘miss, miss, miss — we’re going to tase you. So [Olivia and her friends] ran,” said Annie Simons. She says her daughter did not know they were police officers.

Simons says her daughter recently had surgery and could not run as quickly as her friends. Police caught up to her.

Simons says an officer tased her daughter three times and threw her to the ground.

“I think they need to answer to that,” said Annie Simons. “I think they have a little too much power on Tybee and I think a little needs to be taken away.”

While police were detaining Simons, the video shows a crowd starting to grow. When a man gets too close, the video shows an officer pushing, punching, tasing and tackling the man to the ground.

Buelterman says the man punched the officer first and tried to take his gun. He says it happened before the video was recorded.

Simons is charged with several misdemeanors and a felony: willful obstruction of law enforcement officers by use of threats or violence.

Her misdemeanors include public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and obstruction.

Annie Simons says her daughter is hurt and still behind bars. She says Olivia cannot get out until Tuesday.

“She can’t walk,” said Annie Simons. “They were really brutal to her.”

Mayor Buelterman says the incident was captured by body cameras. He says the chief of police will be reviewing the footage.

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