2 Bluffton police officers suspended after Tybee bar fight

rlurye@islandpacket.comApril 3, 2014 

The Bluffton Police Department suspended two officers Thursday after one of them was charged with felony assault in connection with a Tybee Island, Ga., bar fight, according to a news release.

Officers Henry Criss, charged with aggravated assault and battery, and Lindsey Marion were suspended without pay, pending an internal investigation, the release said. Both officers were at Doc's Bar at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday when Criss pulled a gun on another patron, according to a Tybee Police Department report.

Criss, 33, had reportedly been arguing with the man when he pulled out his personal weapon and held it to the man's cheek, cutting his face. He and Marion, his girlfriend, then left the bar, the report said.

A bar employee also witnessed the incident, the report said.

Officers arrested Criss after they spotted him walking a few blocks away, the report said. They found his handgun under a white Chevy Silverado parked down the street from the bar.

Both men were "highly intoxicated" following the incident, the report said. The victim was transported by EMS to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah.

Tybee police contacted the suspect's supervisors and went with the Bluffton officers to interview Marion at the hotel where she and Criss were staying.

Marion told the Tybee officers she tried to break up an argument between Criss and the other patron, but denied seeing a gun at the bar.

Criss' service weapon was in a bag in the hotel room, the report said.

In the release, Bluffton Police Chief Joey Reynolds said the department holds officers to high standards, on and off duty.

"This incident, which saddens and disappoints me, is a severe violation of the department's standards," Reynolds said. "Even though officers are human, society holds them to a higher standard, and we have to hold ourselves accountable to that standard."

Attempts to reach Marion, who has been with department since May 2008, through her work email were unsuccessful.

Criss, who has been with the department since August 2011, was being held Thursday at the Chatham County jail pending a bond hearing.

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

Related content:

  • Bluffton settles lawsuit with police officer who claimed unfair suspension, demotion, May 20, 2013: http://bit.ly/PrAMsZ

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