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'Citizen journalist' will serve probation, pay fine after Burt's Farm incident
Nydia Tisdale forcibly removed from political event, convicted of misdemeanor obstruction
Nydia Tisdale
Nydia Tisdale - photo by File photo

Nydia Tisdale was sentenced Monday to serve 12 months of probation, 40 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 fine for her August 2014 altercation with a Dawson County law enforcement officer.

Tisdale was found guilty of misdemeanor obstruction of an officer, but was found not guilty of felony obstruction of an officer and criminal trespass. The charges stemmed from her forced removal from Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawsonville, where she was filming a Republican campaign event.

The self-proclaimed citizen journalist was unfazed by the verdict read by Dawson County Superior Court Judge Martha Christian. Tisdale was sentenced under Georgia’s First Time Offenders Act, which means that if she completes the sentence without issue, her record will be cleared.

After the sentencing, she was ushered into a conference room with one of her two lawyers, Catherine Bernard. Bruce Harvey, Tisdale’s other lawyer, said the case would be appealed as he talked to supporters in the common area outside the courtroom.

“Right now, our First Offender status means an adjudication of guilt has not been entered and therefore she can legitimately say she’s not been convicted of anything,” Harvey told the crowd.

She may still enter public buildings and continue filming events for her website, aboutforsyth.com, Harvey said.

Tisdale’s defense called 10 witnesses ranging from public officials to First Amendment advocates to offer evidence that the citizen journalist had never been disruptive or a danger during her filming of public events in metro Atlanta, and Tisdale herself gave a statement at the end of the hearing.

Tisdale said it was “most unfortunate that this event happened as it did. I can’t fully understand it, because most candidates are appreciative of my videos.”