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Criminal case against citizen journalist heads to trial next week
Tisdale
Nydia Tisdale

DAWSON COUNTY - Self-described citizen journalist Nydia Tisdale heads to trial next week facing charges of criminal trespass and obstruction of an officer after a 2014 event that led to her forced removal from Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawsonville.

The criminal case is set to move forward Monday morning in the Dawson County Superior Court.

A resident of Roswell, Tisdale was arrested Aug. 23, 2014, after she allegedly refused to stop videoing a political rally at Burt's Pumpkin Farm and leave the property when requested.

She was removed from the Republican Party rally by then-Dawson County Sheriff's Capt. Tony Wooten, and held in the Burt's barn until two other officers arrived to take her to jail.

Tisdale alleges that she was unlawfully arrested and assaulted by Wooten, while Wooten was cleared of any wrongdoing after an internal investigation by the sheriff’s office.

In August of 2015, Tisdale filed notice that a lawsuit against the Dawson County Sheriff's Office and Dawson County Board of Commissioners was looming unless a settlement could be reached in the case.

The notice said Tisdale was seeking $550,000 and a public apology from Wooten, who she claims made inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with her while attempting to take her into custody.

Tisdale was then indicted on one misdemeanor charge of trespassing, one misdemeanor charge of obstruction of officer and a felony charge of obstruction of officer in November of 2015, and pleaded not guilty to all counts in March of 2016.

If convicted of the charges, Tisdale could face up to five years in prison.

In May of 2016, Tisdale filed a federal lawsuit in Gainesville claiming the arresting officers violated her constitutional rights and asked to take the civil case before a jury.

The suit against three Dawson County Sheriff's deputies claims her First, Fourth and 14th Amendments were violated in the arrest, and Capt. Tony Wooten, Cpl. Russell Smith and Cpl. Laura Bishop were personally named in the suit.

Tisdale also filed a suit against the Burts seeking punitive damages, litigation which she filed on Aug. 22, 2016 in Dawson County Superior Court. The case was later dismissed.

In 2015, Tisdale was awarded $200,000 in a settlement by the City of Cumming, where she was thrown, illegally, from a city council meeting that she was attempting to record.