On February 5, Isiah Harvey, 17, was arrested in Atlanta, GA for allegedly breaking into a home. While sitting in the squad car with Lithonia Police Chief Roosevelt Smith, Harvey claims he was a victim of brutality.
According to Rawstory, Smith grabbed the teen by the chin and then around the throat, choking him for close to ten seconds. Harvey also alleges that the chief pushed the handcuffs on his wrists in such a forceful way that he immediately began to bleed.
Smith, who along with Harvey is African American, has acknowledged that he grabbed the teen but claims it was in self defense because he was being kicked in threatened.
News station WSB adds that another officer, Captain L. Owens helped to restrain the teen as Smith choked him.
Owens provided a similar report of the incident reiterating Smith’s claims that they took defensive action after being threatened by the teen.
In a surprising turn of events, another officer is contradicting these statements.
In a separate report submitted the day after the arrest, Sgt. Angela Hatchett wrote: “What I observed last night was wrong. Chief Smith and Captain L. Owens assaulted Mr. Harvey…Their actions were unjustifiable and unethical.”
Harvey’s family has since hired a lawyer and plan to take legal action against the police department.
“At some point, you have to decide that someone is lying — either Sgt. Hatchett is lying or the chief and that captain are lying,” said Harvey’s attorney Frank Smith.
A city administrator, who was formerly the police chief is conducting an internal investigation. Stay tuned for the latest developments.