Washington High School Incident

Warning!  There is explicit language in the following video.

On Thursday, May 19th at around 1:50pm, deputies and school administrators of Washington High School responded to a classroom after the teacher called for assistance dealing with a disorderly student.  The incident was still rapidly evolving when the deputies arrived.  Tiesherah Smith, dob 12/25/99, was being asked to move away from the other students in the class and to leave the classroom.  Smith moved towards the door of the classroom, but turned around, dropped her book bag on the floor, then aggressively moved towards some of the students in the classroom.  A school administrator attempted to block Smith’s path, while a deputy grabbed her by the waist and redirected Smith back towards the door.  Smith refused to obey the commands to leave the classroom given by the school administrators and the deputy.  Smith once again attempted to circle back towards the students in an aggressive manner, the deputy shoved Smith towards the door and told her to leave the classroom.  After being pushed, Smith fell to her knees.  The deputy grabbed Smith, and led her out of the classroom.  Once in the hallway, Smith was handcuffed, then escorted to an administrative office.

Smith was placed under arrest and charged with Disorderly Conduct and Resist, Delay, or Obstructing a law enforcement officer.  Smith’s mother was contacted and she was transported to the Magistrate’s Office.  Smith was placed in the Beaufort County Detention Center under a $1000 secured bond.

On Monday, May 23rd, 2016, Smith’s father, Jermaine Orintha Ebron, and mother, Tieshe Archie, came by the Sheriff’s Office and filed a complaint against a deputy for what they allege was excessive force during the aforementioned incident.  Mr. Ebron and Ms. Archie produced a 4 second video clip that only showed the deputy shove Smith and Smith falling to the floor.  While being escorted away from the Sheriff’s Office, Ebron made several disparaging remarks towards the Sheriff’s Office and stated he would be going to the media.

The Sheriff’s Office obtained a court order and presented it to Beaufort County Schools for them to release the video recording that they had of the incident.  The recording, recorded by one of the students in the classroom, was reviewed during our investigation into the incident.  The video appears to be the same video footage of what was presented by Mr. Ebron and Ms. Archie, just longer in duration.  The full video shows how Smith was acting before her encounter with the deputy.  The footage showed Smith repeatedly scream at, using profane language, assaulting by bumping into a male student, and eventually striking her male victim.  After reviewing the video footage obtained from the school, an additional charge of assault has been filed against Smith.  The assault charge has not been served on Smith at the time of this press release.

Sheriff Coleman states, “Situations similar to this have occurred in schools throughout our country at a rate that is truly unacceptable.  People that choose to act in the way that Smith acted completely disrupts the educational environment that schools try to create.  My deputy did not want to get involved in a situation like this but was called to assist the administrators and to protect everyone in the classroom.  After failing to listen to teachers, administrators, and law enforcement officer’s lawful commands, then attempting to aggressively approach other students to assault them, the deputy did the right thing by intervening with physical force to stop the assaults from continuing.  My deputy used the least amount of force necessary to stop the violence and reestablish order.  No injuries occurred, and Smith was placed into custody.”

Sheriff Coleman went on to say, “Today, my office has been contacted by a journalist from WNCT-9 “on your side” in reference to this incident.  Instead of responding to one reporter about an incident where only a small portion of the information is being provided, I have decided to release the information to all media outlets.  With this release, I am including all of the video that we have of the incident in an attempt to be transparent and defend the professionalism and integrity of my deputies against unwarranted accusations.  I support and commend my deputy for his quick actions in this incident.”