A former Summit County sheriff's deputy accused of sexually assaulting a woman while working a side job is accusing the sheriff's office of discrimination for charging him with misuse of a law enforcement database.

Antonio Williamson, who is African-American, claims other white deputies in the sheriff's office found to have committed the same offense weren't criminally prosecuted.

“They didn't face prosecution — and their conduct was arguably worse,” said Ian Friedman, a Cleveland attorney representing Williamson.

Friedman said Williamson used the computer program to search his name, while other deputies were found to have accessed information on other people.

Friedman and Brad Wolfe, his co-counsel, argue Williamson is being targeted because of his race. They recently filed a motion asking Summit County Common Pleas Judge Jill Flagg Lanzinger to throw out the 10 charges of unauthorized use of Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway (OHLEG), a fifth-degree felony. Officers are only supposed to use the database for official business, and not for personal matters.

The Akron chapter of the NAACP is looking into Williamson's discrimination claims.

“If his allegations are true, that's unfortunate,” said Judi Hill, president of the Akron NAACP. “We always hope that we're in a better place than we are.”

Williamson, 47, of Maple Heights, also is charged with rape, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition and kidnapping. He is free on bond and required to wear a GPS ankle monitor.

Prosecutors say a 26-year-old woman reported to the Akron Police Department that a man in a Summit County sheriff's deputy uniform offered to give her a ride to a hotel in his cruiser near the Woods Apartments in Akron on March 19, 2017. She said that while she was in the cruiser, the deputy forced her to perform oral sex on him. She identified Williamson as the deputy, according to court records.

Williamson, however, who worked a side job providing security at Woods Apartments, told Akron detectives he talked to the woman, who was walking home after a fight with her boyfriend at Gatsby's Pub. Williamson said he didn't give the woman a ride and didn't sexually assault or have sex with her, according to court records.

The Beacon Journal generally doesn't name sexual assault victims.

Williamson was indicted in July 2017 and fired in April 2018. A supplemental indictment was filed against him in January with the computer misuse charges, which investigators say happened between January 2014 and March 2017.

Friedman declined Tuesday to say why Williamson accessed the database. He said this would come out during the trial.

Since 2013, Williamson's attorneys say four white sheriff deputies were investigated for misusing either OHLEG or the Law Enforcement Automated Database System (LEADS) but weren't prosecuted. The attorneys detailed what happened with each of the deputies, leaving out their names, in their motion. This included:

• A deputy in January 2013 accessed OHLEG to look up information on a woman in whom he was interested. He resigned his position.

• A sergeant in September 2016 called dispatchers while he was off duty and asked them to run a license plate through OHLEG. He wasn't conducting official business. He received a written warning.

• A deputy in February 2017 called the radio room and requested information on someone who was renting a property that belonged to him. He was suspended for one day.

• A sergeant in July 2017 searched himself on OHLEG. No action was taken against him. He was among those who later investigated Williamson's database use.

Bradley Tackett, also a white deputy, however, was indicted in May on charges that he misused both OHLEG and LEADS to access information on someone with whom he had a relationship. Tackett, 43, of Barberton, faces 27 felony charges and his case is pending in Lanzinger's court.

Tackett, a sergeant who had been with the sheriff's office since June 1999, was fired May 30, said Inspector Bill Holland, a spokesman for the sheriff's office.

Williamson's attorneys said they think Tackett is being prosecuted because of Williamson's pending case.

Holland said he was unable to comment on Williamson's discrimination allegation because it involves a pending case. He said the sheriff's office investigates claims of computer database misuse and then decides what action is warranted.

“It's just reviewed on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

Lanzinger will address the discrimination issue and other pending motions in Williamson's case on Sept. 4. His trial is scheduled for Oct. 22.

Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, swarsmith@thebeaconjournal.com and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj.