Suspect flees after scuffle with deputy; deputy accused of brutality

By: Diane Cho
By: Diane Cho

October 25, 2006

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is looking for a man who allegedly pushed and ran from an officer early Monday morning.

Investigators are looking for 22-year-old Mark Watson after he was involved in a scuffle with a deputy.

But the suspect's family claims it was a use of unnecessary police brutality and is now looking to get the NAACP and other state leaders involved.

The case has now been turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation office because there are a lot of serious accusations being made about the alleged assault.

It happened around 3 a.m. Monday, when the sheriff's office says off-duty Deputy Jesse Jackson, working a special at Magnolia Park Apartments, saw Watson and another man in what he thought was a drug deal. When Deputy Jackson asked for their ID, the deputy says Watson pushed him and ran.

Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength says while the deputy was trying to arrest Watson, Watson called for his friends, asking them to help him get away.

The deputy pulled his weapon and ordered them to back off.

One man we talked with who says he saw what happened said the deputy grabbed Watson's head and smashed it against the patrol car, and that's when Watson ran.

He says the deputy fired a shot, caught up to Watson, and then pistol-whipped Watson.

Another neighbor recorded the fight on his camera phone, but the video is too dark to be shown on TV.

The family told us they've also spoken to Rev. Al Sharpton and other state leaders to investigate the matter.

But we should also note Watson has a lengthy criminal history. He was arrested in 2005 for possession of marijuana, and he pled guilty the following November for possession of cocaine and disorderly conduct in 2004.

As of right now, Deputy Jackson is not on administrative leave.


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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