Originally created 08/09/99

Incident means jail for jailer



A Lincoln County sheriff's jailer fought the law during the weekend and lost, landing himself in the Richmond County jail.

Theodore Rhoden, 25, a jailer for the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department in Lincolnton, Ga., was arrested Saturday and charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer after he fought with a Richmond County deputy, according to police reports.

He was released Saturday. The charges could carry up to a year in jail, according to the warrant office of the Richmond County Sheriff's Department.

The incident started around midnight Friday, when a Richmond County sheriff's deputy tried to break up a fight involving Mr. Rhoden at the Coconuts night club at 469 Highland Ave. in Augusta.

Other people involved in the altercation stopped fighting. But Mr. Rhoden hit sheriff's Deputy Chris Niehus repeatedly in the chest and stomach area and five or six times in the face, according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Department report. Deputy Niehus wasn't hurt seriously.

Several people were needed to help restrain Mr. Rhoden, who was described in Deputy Niehus' report as resisting arrest.

Mr. Rhoden, who was characterized as being "severely intoxicated," suffered a cut above his left eye during the fights.

While receiving treatment for his injury at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, Mr. Rhoden repeatedly cursed Deputy Niehus and hospital staff members, according to the report.

After receiving treatment for the cut, Mr. Rhoden was taken to the Richmond County jail.

In his report, Deputy Niehus described Mr. Rhoden as so intoxicated that he asked the arresting officer and hospital staff several times what happened to him.

Charging someone with obstruction instead of a more-serious battery offense is common in such situations, said sheriff's Chief Deputy Ronald Strength.

"We (sheriff's officers) get hit all the time in those situations," Chief Deputy Strength said Sunday. "If that officer wasn't injured, the obstruction charge will cover everything."

Officials with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department didn't return telephone calls Sunday.

Mark Mathis can be reached at (706) 823-3339 or marmathis@yahoo.com.