A grand jury filed criminal charges against a Camden County Sheriff’s deputy who handcuffed and then rammed a local woman’s head into a car during a minor traffic stop in Kingsland.
Christine “Christi” Newman, 53, of Woodbine faces six charges for her alleged conduct during that incident, including one count of aggravated assault, one count of simple battery, one count of making a false statement, and three counts of violating her oath of office.
A Camden County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson confirmed that Newman was fired by the agency Thursday after her indictment. The district attorney’s office said Newman has not yet been arraigned.
On Jan. 16, 2022, Newman pulled over a woman for running a stop sign. The stop escalated when the woman, a Kingsland water department employee, refused Newman’s order to get out of the truck. Newman then pulled the woman from her truck, handcuffed her, struck her in the face, and then rammed her head into a police cruiser, according to dash camera video.
The Current‘s reporting on another controversial traffic stop involving Newman last year sparked the local chapter of the NAACP to look into the deputy’s law enforcement work.
The Camden County NAACP received the dash cam video for the 2022 incident involving Charis Faria as part of a public records request. The group then took video, something their members described as disturbing evidence, to the Brunswick Judicial Circuit district attorney, who then requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigations examine the deputy’s actions last September.
The DA presented the case to the grand jury on Wednesday. Jurors returned an indictment against Newman.
“I take allegations of public misconduct seriously, which is why the GBI was called in to investigate these allegations,” DA Keith Higgins said in a press release. “Upon review of the completed investigation, I determined that charges needed to be brought before the Grand Jury.”
On Thursday at noon, Newman turned herself into the Camden County jail and her bond was set at $10,000. She posted bail and was released, according to jail records.
One of the charges against Newman has to do with a statement she made in her report after she pulled over Faria near a Kingsland gas station.
“(Faria) proceeded to resist arrest by jerking my arm in (an) attempt to break away from me,” Newman wrote on January 16, 2022.
Grand jurors deemed that statement to be false and accused Newman of willfully making a false statement, according to the indictment.
“In my attempt to control the situation, (Faria) ended up being hit in the face and then forcefully put on the bumper of my patrol vehicle,” Newman also wrote in her report.
“The pain of being brutalized by an officer … of being treated less than a human being” does not go away easily, Faria’s attorney, James Yancey Jr., of Brunswick, said.
But “she is just over the moon that the state of Georgia has taken steps to hold an officer accountable.”