Chatham sheriff’s deputy accused of excessive force in Effingham arrest

Puppy in car during arrest is missing

A Pooler man has filed a lawsuit accusing a Chatham sheriff’s deputy of using excessive force during an arrest in Effingham County, kicking him and breaking his jaw and back.


Anthony Oliver also accuses deputy Franklin R. Rollins Jr., who was acting as a U.S. Marshal during the Jan. 23 arrest, of striking his vehicle twice, totaling it and throwing Oliver’s body camera into a pond.

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Oliver said he had a body camera because he used it when he was a process server in California.

Oliver said the body camera was retrieved from the pond at the arrest site on Ga. 30 just north of Shellie Helmey Road in the Guyton area. Video from it shows someone grabbing the camera when Oliver is being arrested and throwing it into water.

“The video proves he (Rollins) was angry and it proves that he had something to hide,” said Craig Bonnell, Oliver’s attorney. “If there had been no misconduct, why get rid of the camera?”

Rollins did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Chatham Sheriff John Wilcher said Oliver has “mental issues.” “We did an internal investigation,” Wilcher said. “Everything he alleges is untrue.”

Wilcher said he doesn’t know anything about Oliver’s body camera being thrown into and recovered from a pond. “We had it in our evidence room,” he said.

Oliver said two members of the Chatham Sheriff’s Office told him that inmates were used to recover the camera from the pond. He said the Chatham Sheriff’s Office returned the camera and video footage to him.

Bonnell said deputies from the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office were on the scene when Oliver was arrested and their dash cams should show Rollins kicking Oliver and throwing his body camera into a pond.

Bonnell said the Effingham Sheriff’s Office has not yet turned over video that would show the arrest.

“If Effingham can’t or won’t produce that video, it almost doesn’t make a difference,” Bonnell said. “It won’t to a jury.”

Oliver, 35, was arrested on a California warrant for missing an $81 payment on a drunken driving fine. Oliver said he already had been arrested twice on the same warrant regarding the $81 fine, spending about two weeks in the Chatham jail each time.

Oliver said he was late paying the fee because he was busy moving and dealing with Hurricane Matthew and it slipped his mind.

He said he had a court date of Feb. 13 on the issue and didn’t know there was a warrant for his arrest on the same topic on Jan. 23.

The incident started at 9 a.m. Jan. 23, when Oliver pulled off of Ga. 21 in Port Wentworth to deal with a puppy he had in the car. A black pickup truck rammed his vehicle, causing “extreme” damage.

He said he got out of his car and saw the driver of the pickup pull a firearm on him. He said the man never identified himself as being in law enforcement and did not use sirens or lights on his vehicle.

Oliver got back in his car and drove off, calling 911 to report that he was being followed by a man with a gun in a black pickup truck. He said the 911 dispatcher told him not to pull over while she checked who might be following him.

Oliver turned on his emergency flashers and drove very slowly. After a few minutes, the dispatcher said the man in the pickup truck was a U.S. Marshal and Oliver should pull over for him.

He did, but before he completely stopped, Rollins rammed Oliver’s car, totaling it.

Oliver said Rollins did not use a siren or flashing lights. He said several other law enforcement vehicles, which did have sirens and lights operating, joined the chase just as the dispatcher was telling him to pull over.

Oliver got out of the car and got on the ground, as Rollins and other law enforcement officers ordered him to do. He said Rollins kicked him with steel-toed boots, ripped off Oliver’s body camera and threw it into a pond that was beside the arrest scene.

The lawsuit says Effingham sheriff’s deputies stood by and did nothing as Oliver was beaten.

Oliver said he repeatedly asked for medical help, but it was nine hours before he saw a doctor at St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court is against Rollins, Chatham and Effingham counties, their sheriffs and 10 unidentified law enforcement officers who were on hand during the arrest. It asks for compensatory and punitive damages, legal fees, additional training of law enforcement officers, an FBI criminal investigation and federal grand jury indictments on civil rights violations.

Meanwhile, Oliver had a $3,500 English bulldog puppy in his car, which has disappeared. Oliver said a witness told him that a woman in a black SUV took the dog, which was named “Dolly.”

Wilcher said he doesn’t know anything about Oliver’s puppy.

Oliver said his 2016 Volkswagen Jetta was totaled and his insurance won’t pay for it because it happened during a police chase.

Ed Fahey 27 days ago
More Trump Gestapo police tactics.
TED HAMMOND 27 days ago
Today's pitiful Fahey comment.  This article obviously has nothing to do with President Trump or any other political associations.  It must be a miserable existence for such a wretched person to have to continually spout nonsense trying to bolster his ego.
Ozzy TYSON 22 days ago
What tha??? Yeah, 'cause nuthin' like this was happenin' seven months ago! 
What an idiot!
Clearwaterguy 27 days ago
Militant police tactics! 
Patricia Wells 27 days ago
This is not about Trump.  This is about the Effingham County sheriff dept's  "Gestapo methods" in their  way of treating human beings.  If what  Oliver says is true then everyone of those sheriff deputies should be fired.  This is 2017 in America.  And this is especially not how we treat people when the cops don't know whether he is guilty or not.  Episodes like this is what gives good cops a bad name.  I support our men and women in blue 100%.  So, for the time being, I will try to with hold judgement.
Ed Fahey 27 days ago
A US deputy Marshal instigated this whole fiasco over an unpaid citation. How silly.
Patricia Wells 27 days ago
But how do we know it was unpaid?    Oliver said it was paid?? And what about this poor English Bull Dog.  Let's wait and see what the facts truly are before passing judgement.  What's not silly Ed, is if this poor dog was so frightened he ran away to never be seen again.
Ozzy TYSON 22 days ago
No, Oliver said he had arranged a court date to address the unpaid $81.
Matt Dana 27 days ago
This is crazy. As usual, the cover-up is more damning than the crime. I wouldn't be sure who to believe if the cop hadn't thrown the camera in the pond. That action makes it clear that they had something to hide.
TED HAMMOND 27 days ago
Holy Batman, you must have been part of Sheriff Wilcher's internal investigation team to have established those damning facts.  Please share more of your inside detail with us unwashed.  Or maybe, just maybe, you and Clearwaterguy are simply expert sound bite trolls.

I think I will wait for the results of an impartial investigation.
Mike Graham 27 days ago
Looked like the bottom of a pond to me.  You gonna believe me or your lying eyes.
Jewel Sanders 26 days ago
John T. Wilcher is a jerk who loves to intimate and he has no integrity at all.  

He is an embarrassment at the Chatham County Sheriff's Dept. and should resign his old age self so someone that isn't as unqualified as he is can take over that job.
zack knowitall 26 days ago
Without the body camera he would 100% be found guilty. Even with it he might.

I know if I had been done this way and they kept up their aggressive actions illegally sending me to prison while violating my rights over an $81 extortion note there would be hell. Plus I'm sure they charged him with more stuff. I wouldn't have released the body cam footage until after the state rested their case in court. Then it would be proven to the jury the cops lied without them having a chance like they do know to prepare and tailor make their lies up like cops do all the time. 

Now hypothetically speaking if it was me and I was wrogfuly sent to prison depriving me of my freedom there would be hell to pay. I would have went after those who came after me and anyone that helped them.
Avram Score 25 days ago
That's not how trials work. Both parties have to produce all articles into evidence before the trial begins, and these are available for review by both legal teams. A judge may, on a discretionary basis, allow the late introduction of further items into evidence, but this represents a special dispensation, and the judge would require justification as to why the article was not introduced earlier. "We felt it would be more dramatic this way" would not be a valid reason.
Tony Oliver 27 days ago

Yes he had something to hide. I am Anthony Oliver and now I have no car, no dog, medical bills up to $ 200,000 and no job. I just moved back to Savannah.  Anthony Oliver


Brandon Buck 27 days ago
I really hope everything works out for you dude.
A citizen 26 days ago
KNow how you feel with the assault. Mckinney tx police beat me up and are trying to hide it instead of owning up to it. The hard part is having to live caused of something you know you didn't do but the cops just lie even though there is video.
Tony Oliver 27 days ago

Hello Everyone:

Deputy Franklin Rollins, Jr., who lives around the corner from where the incident occurred, was ordered relieved from duty, and no longer allowed to work with the US Marshalls. Sheriff Wilcher completed no investigation and I have that in a tape recorded conversation between him and a Sheriff employee. Further, Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie wont surrender the dash cam tapes from Effingham Sheriff police cars. Me and attorney Craig Bonnell went to speak with him and said the tapes don't exist.

THOMAS NEWTON 26 days ago
Effingham is so corrupt! Good luck with that! Luckily Chatham took you! If you were in Effingham County Jail they probably would have beat your a** and put you in 24-7 lockdown with no water, no medical treatment, manufactur an elaborate report to indicate your guilty, and omit any reports of your innocences! Man you know how those good ole boys are!  You & everyone is just screwed until they get caught! Meanwhile Chatham & Effingham are collaborating to cover their own a**.
zack knowitall 26 days ago
Treating me in a manner you described would end badly once I was released.
Corey Lovins 21 days ago
I agree Zack. In today's world such behavior can't be easily hidden unless they kill someone before their body leaves for the hospital to be pronounced DOA.
Corey Lovins 21 days ago
If the Effingham County Sheriff's Office truly would do that to someone who already has a broken jaw and broken back then not only would that be savage it would also be quite unbecoming for anyone in law enforcement or jail staff to say the very least. They need to be investigated and a story run in multiple media sources if they have done such things you detailed.
Jewel Sanders 26 days ago
Wilcher is a person that loves to throw around his weight and is not a man of honesty and integrity.

He will do everything he can to cover up the truth and to paint the LEOs as saints and you as the devil.

"Justice" isn't in his dictionary.

Look at his record with former employee of the sheriff's department whose stories of how he treated them gets dismissed by him as simply, "untrue".

I know the man and know how he operates.

He should retire or go wherever old farts like him go after they have abused their positions of authority.
zack knowitall 26 days ago
Only goes to prove cops will kill anyone and put everyone's life in danger for all laws or fines no matter how small.
John Anderson 26 days ago
Hey John Anderson here. Anthony is a great friend of mine. He missed a payment on the dui charge due to hurricane Matthew that WE all been through. His dui is in California home to a bunch of money hungry democrats. Anthony did nothing wrong in this matter. He deserves justice and that's what he should get. Deputy Rollins has three other noted instances of excessive force and even tried to push a woman to the ground that is 74 years old.

This incident could have been avoided. But the powers that be didn't allow it. Also Anthony as you all could see was rammed from behind by Rollins. Rollins told the Georgia Highway Patrol that Anthony slammed on the brakes causing him to hit Anthony and total his car. As all can see if the video, he is reducing his speed according to the movement of the trees. Anthony was charged by the highway patrol. And the trooper wasn't even on scene. He didn't show up for three hours. But Rollins told the trooper to charge him with three misdemeanors and he did. Now Anthony had to hire an attorney to appear in Court. If our four fathers knew today how our people of this country are being treated, our four fathers would turn over in their grave.

- John
Jewel Sanders 22 days ago
" a bunch of money hungry democrats...

The ones giving him the grief and apparently don't give a damn about any reasons is those local idiotic republicans.