Police Chief accused of choking teen, fellow officer backs up teen’s story
A Georgia police chief has been accused of choking a teen during an arrest and also squeezing the teen’s hand so tightly it started to bleed.
Lithonia Police Chief Roosevelt Smith has admitted to putting his hands around the neck of 17-year-old Isiah Harvey but insists that Harvey had been kicking and threatening him, which prompted him to act.
But Harvey claims that Smith grabbed his chin and then his Adam’s apple for between 7 and 10 seconds. He also claims that Smith snapped the handcuffs on so hard that he bled.
“He squeezed the handcuffs around my client’s wrists to the point where it immediately drew out blood and accused swelling,” said Harvey’s attorney, Frank Smith.
“I would call it police brutality. If I choked someone like that, they would lock me up,” Harvey’s father, Ricky Thomas, said.
While Smith and another police captain have both said that Harvey’s threats justified Smith’s actions, Sgt. Angela Hatchett says otherwise.
“What I observed last night was wrong. Chief Smith and Captain L. Owens assaulted Mr. Harvey… Their actions were unjustifiable and unethical,” Hatchett said in a statement.
The incident is currently under internal investigation by the city’s administrator, who was the former chief.