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Williams pleads not guilty
Charges stem from April fight involving current Pembroke police chief
(From left) Dewayne Jermaine Williams, Tommy Lee Williams and Laquanna Beniman in court Tuesday.

Pembroke resident Tommy Lee Williams and three family members had their initial appearance in Superior Court Tuesday, facing charges stemming from an alleged fight with Bryan County Sheriff’s deputies on April 14.

They each entered not guilty pleas and requested a jury trial.

In May, a lawsuit filed by the Williams family in Bryan County Superior Court against Bryan County Sheriff Clyde Smith and Pembroke Police Chief Mark Crowe was voluntarily dismissed.

A similar civil suit has since been filed in federal court. The lawsuit accuses Crowe and other law enforcement officers of racial slurs and beating Tommy Lee Williams.

Crowe, then a deputy with the BCSO, was one of the officers on the scene.

Dewayne Jermaine Williams, Latreka Edwards and Laquanna Beniman are each facing charges of terroristic threats and acts. Tommy Lee Williams is facing the same as well as charges of obstruction and aggravated assault.

Attorney Sage Brown, who is representing the four relatives, filed motions with Superior Court Jay Stewart requesting both a change in venue and the preservation of evidence.

"The next step is motion arguments," Brown said. "And the step after that is the trial. Where the trial will be has yet to be determined."

Bryan County NAACP Chairman Dave Williams, who is no relation, was in the courtroom during Tuesday’s proceedings. He said the NAACP closely follow the case.

"I support the efforts of Mr. Brown, and I think he’s going to do an appropriate job of defending each and every one of them," Williams said. "I still look at this as a case where there was a young man standing in his yard minding his own business who was unjustly harassed and is now facing all these charges."

Crowe said he has been advised not to comment, but "I’m ready to get all this behind me. When we all have our day in court, the truth will come out."

Crowe’s appointment as police chief sparked protests by some North Bryan residents and the NAACP. Those opposed to his hiring said there should have been an investigation into the incident before Crowe was appointed.

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