A Dade County accountant today filed a civil lawsuit in federal court in Rome alleging that a local Georgia State Trooper tackled her into a ditch, slamming her head into the ground and breaking her glasses, then dragged her to jail when she had committed no crime, while a Dade County Sheriff’s Department detective stood by and did nothing.
Accused are Trooper Joe Geddie and Detective Denny Reyes of the Sheriff’s Department. The accountant, 50-year-old Kiersten Quick, says the entire incident was triggered when Geddie took offense at her colorful language.
The lawsuit alleges false arrest, malicious prosecution and excessive force, requesting a jury trial and unspecified punitive damages. “As a result of Plaintiff’s arrest,” says the complaint, "she [Ms. Quick] suffered a loss of liberty, reputational damage, humiliation, and emotional distress.”
The complaint and a press release issued by Ms. Quick’s attorney, Zack Greenamyre of the Atlanta law firm Mitchell & Shapiro, outline events that started Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, the evening before Thanksgiving, when Ms. Quick’s holiday preparations were interrupted when she learned that her daughter had been in a single-vehicle accident near the intersection of New England Road and Maine Avenue in Dade County.
Hurrying to the site to tend to her daughter, Ms. Quick arrived to find Trooper Geddie arresting the young woman for a suspended license. “Are you f--king kidding me?” asked Ms. Quick.
“Quick did not raise her voice in making this remark,” notes the complaint.
Nevertheless, the complaint alleges, Geddie was upset by Ms. Quick’s remark and arrested her because of it. Placing her handcuffed daughter in the back of his patrol car, he then exchanged words with the accountant, ordering her out of the way, after which, wrote her attorney in the press release: “Without warning, Trooper Geddie grabbed Ms. Quick by the arm, spun her around, and tackled her down into the ditch where her daughter’s car was crashed. Ms. Quick’s head was slammed to the ground and her eyeglasses crushed, as Geddie climbed on top of her.”
He also yanked her arm, says the complaint, alleging that Geddie’s force was unnecessary, unwarranted and applied “maliciously and sadistically.”
Then, says the complaint, Geddie arrested Ms. Quick for disorderly conduct for using “obscene language” and being “belligerent,” as well as a felony charge of obstruction of a law enforcement office.
Reyes transported Ms. Quick to the county jail, where she was booked, then taken to the hospital where she was x-rayed and diagnosed with soft-tissue contusions. After that it was back to jail, where she stayed until the middle of the next day.
“Months later, after the district attorney reviewed the footage of the incident from Defendant Trooper Geddie’s dashboard camera, all charges against Quick were dismissed,” says the complaint.
No disciplinary action was ever taken against either officer, say the complaint.
“I’m bringing this suit because these officers need to be held responsible for their aggressive and unwarranted actions that put people in danger for no reason,” Ms. Quick is quoted in the press release. “I was physically harmed, arrested, and held in jail illegally. There needs to be some form of accountability when law enforcement violates the law.”
“This case is about protecting Kiersten’s liberties granted her by the Bill of Rights,” said attorney Greenamyre in the release. “Americans have a right to peacefully criticize their government without being subjected to violence.”
The Dade Planet requested comment from the Dade County Sheriff’s Department. Sgt. Chad Payne, the department’s information officer, said he was unaware of the complaint but would discuss it with Sheriff Ray Cross. Sheriff Cross had not responded by the end of the day Friday.
Cpl. Andrew Gideon of the Georgia State Patrol did respond, acknowledging that there had been an internal investigation of the matter, but, citing pending litigation, he referred The Planet to the GSP’s Freedom of Information Department in Atlanta for any further information.
Attorney Greenamyre pointed out in his press release that this is not the first time Trooper Geddie was accused of constitutional violations against a citizen for asking questions during an arrest. “While a Dade County Deputy, Geddie and his brother, Jason Geddie, were sued for an unconstitutional arrest with excessive force,” wrote the attorney. “In 2009, that suit was settled for $285,000.”
That case, Dade Countians may remember, was filed by the 61-year-old owner of an apartment building after Dade deputies under then-Sheriff Philip Street sent him to the hospital when he questioned them as they arrested one of his tenants during a domestic call. Ed Reese's arm was mangled by deputies during the incident and he, too, was arrested.
That incident occurred in 2003, and the case was settled six years later in 2009.