- The Washington Times - Friday, February 26, 2016

A Georgia police sergeant has accused her chief and captain of unjustifiably assaulting and choking a 17-year-old boy suspected of burglary.

Lithonia police arrested Isiah Lee Harvey, 17, and two other men for a burglary on Feb. 5. Police said Isiah ran from police when they arrived at the burglarized home and escaped into a nearby wooded area. Police set up a perimeter and quickly found and arrested him, a local NBC News affiliate reported.

The city of Lithonia is now investigating a complaint of excessive force after the boy accused Police Chief Roosevelt Smith of choking him as he was handcuffed for up to 10 seconds while Capt. Lloyd Owens held him down, Raw Story reported.

Isiah said Chief Smith also threatened him with a Taser pointed at his head and “used obscene and profane” language, NBC reported.

A complaint filed by Isiah’s attorney, Frank Smith, names Sgt. Angela Hatchett, a witness of the incident who corroborated the boy’s story. Sgt. Hatchett was reportedly named officer of the year in 2012 and has been with the department for five years.

She said in a statement that the chief choked the boy for seven to 10 seconds.

“What I observed last night was wrong. Chief Smith and Captain L. Owens assaulted Mr. Harvey. There was no reason at all for them to put their hands on Mr. Harvey in that manner. Their actions were unjustifiable and unethical,” Sgt. Hatchett said.

Ricky Thomas, Isiah’s father, thanked the sergeant for defending his son.

“I appreciate everything she’s done, because if it weren’t for her we wouldn’t be having this interview today,” he told the NBC affiliate in a separate report.

In a written statement, Chief Smith said he put his hands on the teen because Isiah was kicking and yelling obscenities. Capt. Owens backs the chief’s account.

The Lithonia City Council voted Feb. 10th to keep the officers in place pending the investigation, which is being conducted by Lithonia City Administrator Eddie Moody.

“The city administrator who is conducting this investigation is the one who recommended the current chief for his position,” Isiah’s attorney said, NBC reported. “It’s too close of a relationship so there needs to be someone independent who can say that they’re completely unbiased, who can come in and actually conduct the investigation whether it’s GBI, the District Attorney’s Office, or some other agency.”

Frank Smith has informed the city of Lithonia that he may sue. He and his client are seeking a $75,000 settlement.

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