Augusta County Whistleblower Faces Retaliation as Significant Other Targeted Following Him Recording a Disturbing Arrest Video of a Coworker
Written by: Bonnie Chapman
AUGUSTA COUNTY, VIRGINIA - The aftermath of the shocking video capturing Deputy Andrew Simonetti's use of force has taken a dark turn as the man who filmed the incident, Bobby Clinedinst, now alleges that the Augusta County Sheriff is targeting his significant other, Felicia Knights. In an exclusive interview with Breaking Through News, Clinedinst revealed a series of troubling events involving Knights' treatment and the role he believes his whistleblowing played in the alleged targeting.
Allegations of Targeting Unfold:
Knights, who is on probation, was scheduled to attend a program at Riverside Health and Rehabilitation Center. She was told that she must travel there with little notice, and upon arriving was simply dropped on the side of the road in Hampton. The Hospital turned her away, claiming they had no idea she was coming, and that they were at capacity. The ride, arranged by Knights' probation officer, had departed, and Knights was stranded in Hampton for several hours.
After her Riverside debacle, upon seeking medical attention at Life Center of Galax, Knights was mistakenly given someone else's blood thinner. This error led to severe sickness for Knights. She experienced symptoms such as vomiting and weakness, with the wrong medication potentially altering her medical and mental state. Knights then offered to go to any program, and her probation officer recommended a program called Pyramid, according to Knights. When she showed up for a ride to that program as directed, she was told that the rideshare had "left early".
Tragic Turn of Events:
Clinedinst reports that Knights was trying really hard, and he believed that the authorities were intentionally causing crises, such as dropping her off in downtown Hampton, or giving her the wrong time for a rideshare to another program. He noted that Knights' stress was reaching a breaking point.
The situation took a tragic turn when Clinedinst returned home on December 21st, 2023, at 5:13 PM, to find Knights hanging from a rope. He managed to intervene, rushed her to Augusta Medical Center, and was initially told she would receive medical treatment.
However, Clinedinst claims that Knights was not given any medical treatment despite visible bruising from the rope around her neck. The probation officer issued an order that violated Knights' probation, who was arrested by the Sheriff's Office, further preventing her from attending the Pyramid rehab center as planned. Knights remains incarcerated in the Middle River Regional Jail. Because of the Holidays, Knights is forced to sit in jail for weeks without a hearing or an opportunity to post bond.
Breaking Through News verified the communications regarding the scheduling of the rehab intakes, and for whatever reason, it appears Ms. Knights was provided erroneous information at every turn. Worse, when it would have become apparent to the authorities that they had just dropped a young woman in need of healthcare off in a large city across the state, no effort was taken to make sure she was safe.
Fear of Retribution:
Clinedinst believes that these distressing events are a direct consequence of his role in capturing the controversial arrest video of Frank Allen Schulpman. The potential connection between the video and the targeted actions against Knights has raised concerns about the alleged misuse of power within Augusta County law enforcement. Clinedinst points out that the incidents where his girlfriend was stranded on the streets and then arrested all occurred after he turned over the Schulpman recording.
Clinedinst said "She tried to take her and... I feel like her probation officer doesn't care, she's very communicative with her officer and has done everything to keep her in the loop".
Clinedinst's message to the Augusta County Sheriff's Office is simple: "I just took a video in public; leave my family alone."
While Sheriff Smith's opposition to body cams is well documented, allegations of threats and arrests to punish those who would record third party police interactions are now presenting a deeply troubling pattern. In addition to this matter, Augusta County Deputy CJ Taylor was charged with assaulting two police auditors who were filming a traffic stop.
Urgent Call for Investigation and Accountability:
Breaking Through News is closely monitoring this developing situation regarding the allegations of targeting and mistreatment of Clinedinst and his girlfriend. A quick review of recent comments on the Augusta County Sheriff's Facebook page shows that the community is calling for transparency, accountability, and justice, as concerns grow regarding the apparent retaliation against those associated with exposing misconduct within the Augusta County Sheriff's Office.
Breaking Through reached out to Ms. Knights probation officer and the Sheriff's office, but as of press time we have not received a response. Should either provide comment, we will update this article.
As Augusta County grapples with escalating controversies, the need for a thorough reassessment of law enforcement practices becomes increasingly evident. The community demands answers and accountability, emphasizing the urgency of addressing the deeply rooted issues within the sheriff's office that may affect the civil rights of Augusta county residents.
Stay with Breaking Through News as this story continues to unfold and subscribe to Breaking Through News on the Newsbreak app or on our website at breakingthrough.com.