Dade County woman alleges excessive force in suit against state trooper [video]

Dade County woman alleges excessive force in suit against state trooper [video]

August 23rd, 2017 by Tyler Jett in Local Regional News

WARNING: This video contains explicit language.

WILDWOOD, Ga. — A Dade County woman sued a sheriff's deputy and a state trooper after she got tackled to the ground during her daughter's arrest last year.

Around 9:15 p.m. on Nov. 23, Deputy Denny Reyes and Georgia State Patrol Trooper Joseph Geddie responded to a car crash at the intersection of New England Road and Main Avenue. Jessica Gaha, 31, had lost control of her Honda Civic, crashing it into a tree. Checking her identification, Geddie realized that Gaha's license was suspended in Indiana. He put her in handcuffs.

Gaha's mother, Kiersten Elise Quick, then arrived at the scene. She yelled and cursed, and Geddie told her to step away. She walked back a few feet, but Geddie wanted her farther from the crash scene. The two argued, and Geddie grabbed her wrist and pulled her into a ditch. She said he slammed her head into the ground multiple times.

Geddie charged Quick with obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct, pointing out that she yelled curse words at the trooper. But seven weeks later, Assistant District Attorney Len Gregor said he would not prosecute the case, arguing Geddie did not have enough evidence for the charges.

On Friday, Quick filed a lawsuit against Reyes and Geddie in U.S. District Court, claiming Geddie made a false arrest, used excessive force and retaliated for her use of the first amendment.

"He was a bully," Quick, 50, said on Tuesday.

Spokespeople for the sheriff's office and the Georgia State Patrol declined to comment.

This is not the first lawsuit against Geddie. In 2003, when he was a Dade County sheriff's deputy, he was investigating a domestic violence call at an apartment complex on Heritage Trail in Trenton. While he interviewed the alleged victim inside, the owner of the complex began to argue with a deputy about multiple law enforcement vehicles blocking the entrance to the apartment.

According to a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling, Geddie heard a thud against a brick wall. Then he heard another deputy calling for him to help. Outside, he found the deputy struggling with the apartment complex owner before the two men fell to the ground.

Geddie then rushed over, pulled the man's face up and hit him with one burst of pepper spray. He and several other officers were named in the lawsuit, and an insurance company for Dade County settled with the man for $285,000 in 2009.

In November, after Geddie put handcuffs on Gaha, she shouted out to her mother, who had just arrived on scene.

"I'm going to jail," Gaha said, according to dashcam footage. "You need to come get me."

"Are you — — kidding me?" Quick said. (She told the Times Free Press this was not directed at Geddie, just the situation.)

Geddie then told Quick to "go right back over there" or he would arrest her for obstruction. In an incident report, Geddie said he wanted her to return to her own car, about 50 yards away. The dashcam footage is not as clear.

Geddie put Gaha in the back of a patrol car. Quick, meanwhile, stood next to Gaha's vehicle, while Gaha's friend sat down in the driver's seat. Gaha asked Quick to get the keys from the car, take care of it and pick her up in jail. Geddie then orders her to back away again.

"Or you're going to jail," he said.

Quick began to respond.

"Nope," Geddie said. "You go right over there. Get over there right now."

Quick began to respond again.

"I don't care what," Geddie said. "You. Go. Now. You want to go to jail?"

"What are you going to take me to jail for?" she asked.

"Obstruction," he said.

"I know the law," she said. "I was married to an attorney for 20 years."

"Obstruction," he said. "Obstruction."

About five seconds later, as Quick continued to argue, she lifted her hand in the air, moving it and pointing as she talked. Geddie grabbed her wrist, twisted it and pulled her to the ground, in the ditch. Dashcam footage showed him sitting on her as she screamed.

In an incident report, Geddie wrote that he thought Quick might reach for his weapon. He said she pinched his inner left thigh during the struggle, and his knees became red from rubbing the ground. He said the skin on his left knee broke.

Asked about this Tuesday, Quick laughed.

"He hurt his own knees when he tackled me to the ground," she said. "... It's almost humorous, if you weren't the one being assaulted."

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 at tjett@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.