09/07/2007

Ky. officer, former officer indicted for assault during pursuit

The Associated Press

RICHMOND, Ky. A grand jury has indicted a central Kentucky police officer and a former police officer on misdemeanor charges stemming from a July Fourth vehicle pursuit.

Richmond police officer Stephen Parker and former Berea police officer Billy Beavers were each charged Thursday with one count of fourth-degree assault and one count of first-degree official misconduct.

The indictment alleges that Beavers kicked James Hunt, 40, of Lexington, and caused physical injury "under circumstances which constituted excessive use of force."

Hunt was a passenger in a vehicle police were pursuing after getting a complaint of a possible drunk driver. The car's driver, James Barker, didn't immediately pull over and Berea police joined the pursuit.

"Upon termination of the pursuit, Hunt, who had raised his arms, was approached by (Parker) and jerked from the automobile, thrown on the ground and then struck by (Parker), said actions constituting a violation of the Use of Force policy adopted by the Richmond Police Department," the indictment said.

Hunt was charged with alcohol intoxication and Barker was charged driving under the influence of alcohol, fleeing and evading police, wanton endangerment and traffic offenses.

The Berea police department fired Beavers in August after an internal investigation following the pursuit. Parker was placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the criminal case, said Richmond police spokesman Sgt. Willard Reardon.

Berea Police Chief Dwayne Brumley said he could not comment on the indictment. When Beavers was fired, Brumley said the termination was the result of information the department received that the officer may have "acted inappropriately."

Richmond Police Chief Larry Brock said he could not comment about the case because of personnel policies.

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