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FBI looks into complaint against Warrenton officer

WARRENTON, Ga. -- The FBI has officially begun looking into a recent disturbance which led to a ranking police sergeant being injured and two local women facing felony criminal charges.

The FBI became involved in the case a few days ago after a civil rights complaint was filed against Warrenton Police Department Sgt. J.J. Cooper following a disturbance in the Meadow Circle neighborhood on Sunday, April 18. It was not revealed who filed the complaint with federal authorities.

The FBI's involvement comes on the heels of a state investigation ongoing by agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

The GBI was requested by the Toombs Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office to look into what happened and whether police officers used appropriate or excessive force against the two women, according to Gary Nicholson, special agent in-charge of the GBI Region 7 Office in Thomson.

At least one of the women, Tyiesha Tanksley, 28, was slightly injured after being shot with a taser weapon.

She was charged with one count of aggravated assault on a police officer and two counts of obstruction against a law enforcement officer.

The second suspect was identified as Jennifer S. Grant, who was charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, two counts of obstruction of a law enforcement officer and one count of interference with government property.

Ms. Grant also was shot with a taser during a fight that left Sgt. Cooper bloody from a head laceration. Sgt. Cooper was taken to the emergency room of McDuffie Regional Medical Center in Thomson where he was treated and later released.

Officer Greg Black also responded to the disturbance, as did deputies with the Warren County Sheriff's Department and troopers with the Georgia State Patrol post in Grovetown. There were no reports of any other officers being hurt.

Sgt. Cooper attended last week's Warrenton City Council meeting and explained to city officials what he recalled during the disturbance and some of his actions. He was supported by Police Chief Jim McClain.

After city council members were informed that the FBI has now entered the case, Mayor Tony Mimbs said he welcomed the outside probes.

Web posted on Thursday, May 13, 2010

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