Man says sheriff wrongfully arrested him after accusing him of groping his own wife

STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. — One random moment in time led a military contractor to an arrest, and that contractor filing a lawsuit against a Georgia sheriff who he said wrongfully arrested him.

Channel 2′s Tom Jones spoke to Darius Rice, who said he was taken into custody and charged with sexual battery of a sheriff’s deputy in April after an incident at a Henry County QuikTrip store.

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Rice told Jones he is innocent and that it was a conflict of interest for the sheriff to arrest him, since the alleged victim is the sheriff’s wife.

Rice is a military veteran who said he served in combat.

Rice wants justice after he said Clinch County Sheriff Stephen Tinsley handcuffed him and tossed him to the ground outside a Stockbridge QuikTrip on April 7. That’s after the sheriff’s wife, a deputy, said he groped her inside the store. Jones asked Rice if he did it? “Negative. Never did. Never,” he said emphatically.

Rice said he accidently bumped into Clinch County Deputy April Tinsley while inside the convenience store and said he was looking down at the time. Several people pulled out their phones that night and began recording after they saw sheriff Tinsley trying to arrest Rice. There are several videos of the scuffle between the sheriff and Rice. On one video you can hear sheriff Tinsley say, “I’m the sheriff.”

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Henry County Police said Rice’s girlfriend, Ashley Jackson, recorded the scuffle back in April. That’s when they said April Tinsley grabbed Jackson’s phone and threw it in their truck. The Tinsley’s were reportedly transporting an inmate from Atlanta to Ware County.

After that happened, Jackson and Tinsley then got into an altercation after Tinsley accused Jackson of assault. You can hear someone on the video screaming at the sheriff and his wife. “You in the wrong. And she in the wrong.”

Rice’s attorneys point out that the police officers who looked at the video of the alleged groping said it shows Rice accidently bumped into Tinsley. Another officer said Deputy Tinsley was backing away from the counter when it happened.

Rice’s attorney’s are still wondering why Rice still faces a charge.

“It’s amazing to me that with all the evidence a white woman’s tears still trump all of those things,” attorney Bakari Sellers said.

Rice’s attorneys say the sheriff should have called authorities immediately.

“That shows that he has a conflict of interest because his wife is saying hey babe, somebody touched me,” attorney Harry Daniels said.

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The Henry County Sheriff’s office has taken over the investigation. Colonel Antonio Catlin said he saw the video and it’s not exactly clear what happened. But he said something happened.

Rice says he’s not the type of person to grope strange women.

“It’s a big, big, big embarrassment. Especially I’m a man with morals,” Rice said.

Sheriff Tinsley sent a statement saying neither he or his wife can comment because of the ongoing investigation.

Channel 2 is working to get the videos of the alleged incident. In the meantime, Rice said he could lose his high-paying military contract job overseas if the charges don’t go away.