Crime & Courts

Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Aiken Co. |

Hephzibah man acquitted of obstruction of GRU officer in stun gun case

Thursday, July 11, 2013 6:31 PM
Last updated Friday, July 12, 2013 2:00 AM
  • Follow Crime & courts

A Richmond County Superior Court jury on Thursday acquitted a Hephzibah man of obstruction of an officer and rejected what could have been a compromise verdict of misdemeanor obstruction.

Fredrick Gibbons repeatedly rejected the prosecutor’s offer of a suspended sentence for a guilty plea to a misdemeanor and insisted on a trial. What happened to him when Georgia Regents University police officers arrested him has happened to others, he said, and it was time for someone to bring it to the public’s attention.

“It may not change a lot, but awareness is a first step,” said Gibbons, a small businessman.

He risked spending five years behind bars if the jury hadn’t seen the facts his way. The jury deliberated about two hours Thursday before acquitting him.

For most of three days, the jury heard from a series of GRU officers, including Wesley Martin, the reported victim of the felony obstruction charge.

Martin testified that on March 1, 2012, he stopped Gibbons on Wrightsboro Road because there was no tag on his vehicle. Martin made the statement at least twice during his testimony, only to take it back when defense attorney Victor Hawk played the recording of an exchange between Martin and his dispatcher just before the traffic stop.

On the recording, Martin says he was stopping a vehicle with a paper tag. The dispatcher repeated the statement to ensure he heard correctly, and Martin affirmed it.

Martin said he repeatedly asked Gibbons to hang up his phone after approaching the vehicle and that he shocked Gibbons with a stun gun. Martin told the jury that Gibbons rolled up his window, trapping Martin’s hand and causing him to shock himself.

Gibbons said Martin charged up to his vehicle, yelling for him to the open the door, and immediately began shocking him, rendering him unable to control his limbs.

The incident was caught on the stun gun’s recording device and the Richmond County sheriff’s dispatch recording. Gibbons had called dispatch as soon as he saw who it was who pulled him over.

Eighteen months earlier, Gibbons had filed an internal affairs complaint against Martin and other officers involved in arresting him on a charge of driving an unregistered vehicle. That charge was thrown out because Gib­bons’ vehicle was legally registered and it is legal to drive with a paper tag.

Hawk said he would like for the trial to spur the community into requesting an investigation into the GRU police department.

Hawk said Thursday that Martin has used a stun gun 24 times in his 2½ years at GRU.

Gibbons was shocked at least five times during the traffic stop.

William E. McBride Jr., the director of the Public Safety Division and chief of police at Georgia Regents University, said through a spokesman that the officer’s training records and the results of an internal investigation have been turned over to the district attorney’s office.

“As far as he’s concerned, the matter is closed,” said the spokeswoman, Jennifer Scott.

Comments (31) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Sweet son
9988
Points
Sweet son 07/12/13 - 11:22 am
5
1
Should McBride be the head of a police agency?

If he is not smart enough to see when he has a "rouge officer," as described by Mr. Hawk, and also assist the president in violating Board of Regent policies maybe the University should look at his track record. Maybe he at least needs some paper in his personnel file.

After the verdict yesterday I wonder if Martin is on paid leave until his mess is worked out? I hope not! He needs to go home and use his vacation pay, if he has any, until higher authorities rule.

just an opinion
2478
Points
just an opinion 07/12/13 - 11:53 am
4
1
Major McMcBride "case closed" REALLY?

You have a officer who is using a taser on people on average of once per month. You don't think this warrants a little discussion? maybe? Or as your spokeswoman (why do you need one) said: CASE CLOSED! My only question is: who gets tased in July by this guy?

nocnoc
40513
Points
nocnoc 07/12/13 - 11:58 am
5
1
Can we get a Picture

of the MCG Taser Officer?

I don't want to tick him off on one of my visits to MCG.

But on a more less serious note:

If they might promote him Major.

Would we then call him Capt Taser or Major Taser.

The problem is the 1st sounds like Sci-Fi Comic book hero and
he ain't no hero.

Little Lamb
44971
Points
Little Lamb 07/12/13 - 03:30 pm
3
0
Animation

From the story:

Martin told the jury that Gibbons rolled up his window, trapping Martin’s hand and causing him to shock himself.

It's too bad for Martin that the prosecution did not spring the money to have one of those fancy animations done to show how Martin's hand inside the car could manage to shock himself.

Bizkit
30407
Points
Bizkit 07/12/13 - 04:11 pm
3
0
Hawk said Thursday that

Hawk said Thursday that Martin has used a stun gun 24 times in his 2½ years at GRU. Then he lied on the stand. Now that is criminal-start up another grand jury.

Devil's Advocate
3
Points
Devil's Advocate 07/14/13 - 01:06 pm
1
0
In the courtroom

As someone who sat in the courtroom for the entire trial it was fun to watch the ADA bring up multiple police officers who each was CAUGHT in a lie. Officer Martin had previously pulled Mr. Gibbons over 18 months before this incidet in which another officer wrote the citation. Mr. Gibbons asked that Ofr. Martin's name and badge number also be written on it to which the officer said there was no room. The jury was then shown the ticket with plenty of room. Officer Jackson was caught lying saying Mr. Gibbons flipped Ofr Martin the bird which instigated the situation (false) he also claimed that he was not back at the polce station when they were rewatching Ofr Martin's chest camera (shown below in Youtube link). Vic Hawk then played a video showing Ofr Jackson standing over Ofr Martin laughing at Mr. Gibbons suffering. Ofr Martin lied on the stand about Mr. Gibbons having a "paper tag" far more than twice. He said it several times while on the stand both the 1st and 2nd day. Vic Hawk then played audio of Martin talking with dispatch "M: gold Linclon Town Car, Paper Tag, Dispatch: Paper tag? M: 10-4". Ofr Martin Claims that his "hand was stuck in the window" yet if you watch the video you can clearly see that his Tazer is stuck in the window only after he forced it to be stuck in there. Officer Martin never tells Mr. Gibbons that his hand is stuck in the window. But when the other officers arrive on the scene he then begins yelling about his hand is caught in the door/window and jumps around in what he is telling his fellow officers.
Officer Martin also claimed that he warned Mr. Gibbons that he was about to be tazed. The video footage proves this to be false. Officer Martin claimed that he warned Mr. Gibbons that if he did not comply he would be tazed. The video below proves this also to be false.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJpt1Qyxa-Y

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs