- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

MCCOMB, Miss. (AP) - A woman says her 15-year-old son was unfairly roughed up by Pike County sheriff’s deputies at the county fair and a county supervisor wants a legal opinion on her attempt to file charges.

Toshiba Lewis tells the Enterprise-Journal (https://bit.ly/1qYOyTL) that deputies handcuffed her son the night of Sept. 6, and threw him to the ground, injuring his lips, legs and hand.

The boy was released without charges. Lewis then tried to file a complaint against two deputies at the sheriff’s department but was turned away after county attorney Wayne Dowdy advised against taking a statement from someone who was not an eyewitness. Lewis didn’t see the incident, but says multiple witnesses are willing to testify.

Lewis furnished copies of signed statements from several witnesses to the Enterprise-Journal. One witness, Dionne Burton, stated she was walking with the 15-year-old when three officers grabbed him, “slamming him into the ground.” Burton said she informed the deputies the boy was a minor and asked why he was being arrested, at which point the deputies detained her and placed her in the back of a patrol car. Burton said she and the boy were later released.

Supervisor Tazwell Bowsky says he wants Dowdy to talk to supervisors about how they should handle the case.

“I thought you could file a complaint and then let the evidence show if this is a just cause,” Bowsky said Monday in a supervisors’ meeting.

“We checked into it and continue to check into it. … We check into every allegation,” Pike County Sheriff Mark Shepherd said.

Shepherd said he had not seen the witness statements Lewis furnished to the Enterprise-Journal. He said he plans to look into the matter further.

Under Mississippi law, criminal charges can’t be filed against a law enforcement officer without a probable cause hearing. Dowdy, who was not present at the meeting, said in an interview later that in this case the charges would be filed in justice court, where the prosecutor could initiate proceedings for a probable cause hearing in circuit court.


Information from: Enterprise-Journal, https://www.enterprise-journal.com

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