Suspects in Quitman Co. riot take plea deal

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

QUITMAN COUNTY, GA (WTVM) - It's a case that created an uproar in Quitman County- an investigative traffic stop by Sheriff's Deputies that sparked an angry mob in downtown Georgetown. The matter was resolved in Superior Court Tuesday.

One by one, the five remaining suspects charged in connection with the small-scale pled guilty to the misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, a result of a plea agreement.

Surveillance footage from last August shows two sheriff's deputies being attacked at a gas station during a drug investigation.

Police say things got worse after they made a few arrests and brought the suspects down to the County Courthouse. In the melee that followed, six adults and one juvenile were arrested

"Tensions were building again and we were afraid that this community would have been in turmoil as they were at that time. So to avoid that situation for this community, the defendants wanted to negotiate something that was fair to them and that would also allow this community to avoid that potentially explosive situation," said attorney for the defendants, Joseph Wiley, after the proceedings.

"I think the District Attorney went in and stated that the deputies certainly had probable cause to make the investigative stop they made and the defendants did say that they were guilty. It takes a little bit of a cloud off the deputies and let's us go forward in enforcing the laws in Quitman County," Quitman County Sheriff Steve Newton told News Leader 9.

Then, just when it looked like everything was over, Eufaula Police arrested one of the defendants, Tyrone Billings inside the courthouse and charged him with the distribution of marijuana. Officers revealed they also arrested Bryshon Smith on the same charge. Sheriff Newton says both men were the initial targets of their drug investigation and traffic stop that led to the riot. The sheriff says Smith already pled guilty in connection with the incident in Quitman County. Eufaula Police say Billings and Smith were targeted in an undercover narcotics investigation on the other side of the river and now face new charges.

Police tell WTVM they both are on probation for similar charges in Georgia.

Meanwhile, the other defendants were sentenced to 12 months probation and order to pay a $250 fine and court costs.

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