A Newton County Sheriff's deputy was compelled to use force on a suspect after the man repeatedly resisted arrest and attempted to pull the deputy's firearm free.
NCSO Deputy Michael Lewis was patrolling the area of Ga. Highway 36 and Moore Road last Wednesday when he observed a red Honda Civic with no taillights. Lewis made a U-turn and attempted to pull over the driver, later identified as Cody Simmons. Instead of stopping, the driver accelerated the vehicle in an effort to outrun the deputy.
While Lewis continued to chase the car, Simmons reportedly lost control of the vehicle which flipped into a ditch.
Simmons then reportedly exited the vehicle and began to run from the scene. Simmons allegedly ignored Lewis' order to stop and to get onto the ground, but Lewis was able to knock the suspect down in a nearby creek bed.
The two then scuffled, and Simmons reportedly tried to choke the deputy with his bare hands. Lewis was able to break the suspect's grip and flip him onto his stomach. As the deputy attempted to use an arm bar restraint on the suspect, Simmons continued in his attempts to crawl away.
While still on the ground, Simmons allegedly flipped onto his back so he could face Lewis and then grabbed the deputy's firearm which was secured on his belt. Lewis reportedly punched the suspect several times in the face until he released his grip on the weapon.
Simmons reportedly then told Lewis, "I have AIDS; let me go" before attempting to knock the deputy down by hitting him in the chest. When Lewis did not budge, Simmons allegedly tried for the deputy's gun again, and again Lewis struck the man in the face until Simmons released his grip.
Since he was unable to handcuff the suspect, Lewis instead placed Simmons in a chokehold until backup arrived.
Once Simmons was in custody, he was transported to Newton Medical Center where he, along with the two deputies, were treated for their injuries.
NCSO Lt. Bill Watterson said the deputies were personally told Simmons' medical history, but under the Medical Privacy Act, that information was not passed along to the department.
Drug tests revealed Simmons was under the influence of methamphetamine and marijuana. Watterson said the meth could have caused Simmons' violent behavior.
Simmons originally told deputies his name was Brian King, but further investigation revealed his true identity.
He was later transported to the Newton County Detention Center where he was charged with fleeing or attempting to elude an officer, obstruction of an officer, aggravated assault on a police officer, battery on a police officer, attempting to remove a firearm from belt of a police officer, leaving the scene of an accident, driving while license suspended, no taillights and DUI drugs.
The accident portion of the case was turned over to the Georgia State Patrol.