Accused Officer Assault Latest

Friday morning the head of the Meridian/Lauderdale County NAACP postponed a press conference on the latest development involving a teenager, who was allegedly assaulted by a Meridian police officer.

The incident in question happened last October at the Lauderdale County Juvenile Center. It involved a 17-year-old Meridian teen who was in police custody. According to NAACP leaders and the teen's mother, police video shows the juvenile being assaulted by the officer. However, Thursday during a probable cause hearing in Lauderdale County Circuit Court a judge had a different view, and ruled that there was not probable cause for the officer involved to be charged.

"Absolutely, there is nothing to hide."

Joel Hamilton is the officer's attorney.

"I think what they don't understand is that you don't look at this three second snippet of video."

Attorney Hamilton contends that prior to the incident in question, the teenager made repeated physical threats against the officer and his spouse for hours. He says when his client felt seriously threatened he took appropriate action.

"I think that there's a misconception that once the handcuffs go on, that you're (officers are) not allowed to do anything to a subject. You're still allowed to protect yourself and if he makes a credible threat of violence to keep your distance from him and that's what the officer did; it was an open-handed push."

Hamilton says the Meridian police officer involved in the case has since resigned from the department and accepted a job in law enforcement elsewhere.

As for the 17-year-old's mother, she tells Newscenter 11 that she's asking the justice department to look into the case.

"I really wish that we could take all of this energy that we're putting into this and find ways to reach out to these kids," says Hamilton.


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