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Citizen journalist will pursue arrest case to state appeals court
Nydia Tisdale was arrested at 2014 rally, found guilty of obstructing officer Dec. 18
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Nydia Tisdale stands outside the Dawson County Superior Court on Dec. 18, 2017, during her sentencing hearing. - photo by Nick Bowman

DAWSONVILLE — Four years after her arrest at a campaign rally and nine months after she was found guilty of misdemeanor obstruction of an officer, Nydia Tisdale plans to appeal after her motion for a new trial was denied by a Dawson County Superior Court judge.

In her judgment filed Aug. 22, Superior Court Judge Martha Christian said the jury did have sufficient evidence to find Tisdale guilty of obstruction and denied her request for a new trial.

Tisdale took to Twitter the next day, four years to the date after her arrest, saying she would take her case to the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Noah Pines said Tuesday via email that Ross & Pines LLC will be representing her during the appeal.

The self-proclaimed citizen journalist was sentenced Dec. 18 to serve 12 months of probation, 40 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 fine for her August 2014 altercation with a Dawson County law enforcement officer.

Tisdale was sentenced under Georgia’s First Time Offenders Act, meaning if she completes the sentence without issue, her record would be cleared.

Tisdale was found not guilty of felony obstruction of an officer and misdemeanor criminal trespass. The charges stemmed from her forced removal from Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawsonville at a Aug. 23, 2014, Republican Party campaign rally attended by statewide officeholders including Gov. Nathan Deal, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins and Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens.

Tisdale was arrested by Capt. Tony Wooten of the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office after being asked to stop filming by organizers. The event was publicly advertised and held on private property.

After Tisdale refused to stop filming, Wooten forcibly removed her. During the trial, Wooten claimed he was kicked and elbowed by Tisdale as he took her away.

Tisdale argued that her forced removal violated her First Amendment rights and claimed during the trial that Wooten refused to identify himself as he held her pinned to a counter in a barn at the pumpkin farm, sexually assaulted and physically harmed her.

On Jan. 8, Tisdale filed a motion under the grounds that there was “insufficient evidence to support the verdict” and “the trial court committed errors of law,” warranting a new trial.

During a hearing July 31, Tisdale’s new representation, Andrew Fleischman of Ross & Pines, argued that Tisdale’s guilty charge of misdemeanor obstruction of an officer should be thrown out due to the same issue that persisted throughout the original trial — that Tisdale did not know Wooten was a law enforcement officer when she resisted arrest.

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