4th arrest made in Tybee Island after video goes viral

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Police made a fourth arrest in connection with an incident over the weekend in Tybee Island that gained social media attention and statements from the city’s mayor and police chief.

Jessica Simons, 19, was arrested Wednesday on obstruction, theft by receiving stolen property and making a fake ID charges, according to Chatham County jail records. She is the sister of 21-year-old Olivia Jane Simons, who was one of three suspects arrested Saturday night, according to Savannah-based news station WSAV-TV.

In a viral video, Simons and two others, Richard Harper Stutts and Alecia Nicholle Adams, were seen struggling with police officers and being detained with force, AJC.com previously reported. A Taser was used on Simons, while a stun gun was used on Stutts and Adams.

After the video garnered thousands of views, shares and comments on Facebook and YouTube, the city and police department responded in defense of the officers’ use of force. On Facebook, they posted two of the officers’ body camera footage, surveillance video from the bar and from the street, in addition to three incident reports.

MORE: Tybee Island mayor, police chief defend use of force in viral video of 3 arrests

The Simons sisters are accused of trying to use a 30-year-old woman’s driver’s license to enter Rock House bar off Butler Avenue. Police Chief Robert Bryson previously told AJC.com the driver’s license was reported as stolen.

In the bodycam video of Sgt. T. Leguin, Olivia Simons is seen taking the ID from the officer and running away, prompting a chase that ended with her tripping and falling to the ground. Leguin began to struggle with Olivia Simons on the sidewalk, while Jessica Simons escaped another officer, Bryant Sims. 

During the struggle, Leguin is heard warning Olivia Simons that he was going to use his Taser “in hopes it would make her think about her actions and she would begin to comply,” according to his incident report.

She allegedly refused, and he deployed his Taser, hitting her in the back with one prong while hitting himself in the leg with the other. He then deactivated the Taser before firing a second time, with both prongs hitting Olivia Simons.

When Sims returned from unsuccessfully chasing Jessica Simons, he was told by Leguin to arrest Stutts, who was yelling and cursing at Leguin during his struggle with Olivia Simons, both officers’ incident reports said. 

During the arrest, Stutts is accused of punching the officer multiple times in the face, and Sims said he began punching back in self-defense. The encounter was captured in both the viral cellphone video and Sims’ bodycam video.

Content warning: The cellphone video and Sims’ bodycam footage are both embedded below, in that order. Both include explicit language.

The incident ended with Sims using his stun gun on Stutts after threatening to use his Taser on him, the report said. Sims went to Memorial Hospital shortly after other officers arrived, and doctors found bruises and swelling on his head, shoulder and hand.

Adams, who was also yelling at both officers during the incident, was arrested by Sgt. K. Suggath, who wrote in his incident report that she bit him twice when he tried to get her into a patrol car. A stun gun was used on her three times, failing each time.

Olivia Simons, Stutts and Adams were charged with public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and both misdemeanor and felony counts of obstruction. Stutts was also charged with interference with government property, simple battery and attempting to disarm a police officer.

AJC.com has reached out to Tybee Island police and the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office for an update on the investigation given the arrest of Jessica Simons, who was granted a nearly $4,000 bond, records show.

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