Several Ellabell residents on Murchison Road are making claims of police brutality stemming from an arrest Wednesday.
The details of what happened depend on who you talk to, but all parties seem to agree on this much: deputies arrested Ellabell resident Roger Lee Dixon after he fired shots during an argument with family members.
Bryan County Sheriff Clyde Smith said the claims are false and that "minimum force was used to make this arrest."
Bryan County NAACP Chairman Dave Williams said he believes claims that too much force was used in arresting Dixon are true. His group is planning a rally and press conference in order to address the incident.
Dixon’s neighbor, Linda Bacon, said she witnessed the incident. She said Dixon and his niece got into an argument Wednesday evening and Dixon fired a gun into the air at one point, which led to his niece calling 911.
When police arrived, Bacon said "the police came into the yard, had him face down on the ground and cuffed him. Then one deputy put a knee in his back and pulled out a taser and tased him. He’s old and disabled, which makes this even worse. He was begging the officers not to hurt him, but they told him he was refusing arrest."
"A lot of people around here fear law enforcement because they do what they want," said Trendell Green, another neighbor of Dixon’s.
Smith said a taser was utilized before Dixon was handcuffed and claims to the contrary are "an outright lie."
Here’s what happened according to Smith: Deputies responded to a 911 call. The caller said Dixon, a convicted felon, fired shots at his niece and sister.
"Mr. Dixon did not respond to the officers, so they had to take him down," Smith said. "All the while, he was trying to overpower the deputies. Keep in mind that the deputies did not know if Dixon still had a gun in his possession. The taser gave them the strength to cuff him."
According to the police report by Deputy Ernesto Nieves, Dixon continuously cursed, spat and kicked at the he and Deputy Ronalyn Fernandez during the arrest. The report quotes Dixon as saying "I’ll have your jobs," while quoting someone in the crowd as saying "I’m going to call WTOC and get paid just like Tommy Williams."
-Read more in Saturday's Bryan County News.