Alleged victim recalls racial slurs; fireworks - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Alleged victim recalls racial slurs; fireworks

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)  --  We're learning more about the incident that led police to charge three men for targeting and harassing African-Americans.

Channel 3 was first to report the incident Saturday. It happened at East Lake Courts on 4th Avenue around 3:00 Saturday morning. That's when police say 21-year-old, Kyle Montgomery, 21-year-old, Colton Parting, and 27-year-old, James D. Smiley, allegedly threw fireworks and terrorized African-Americans standing nearby. 

Channel 3 confirmed the three men are accused of yelling racial slurs, and have all been charged with civil rights intimidation.

It started out as a typical Friday night at East Lake Courts.  Angela Lonise and some friends were standing in the doorway of their apartment when they watched a white truck pull up.  

"When they first did it we didn't know what to think," Lonise says.  "We didn't know if we heard gunshots or what." 

Lonise says she heard loud pops and quickly realized the people inside the truck were throwing lit fireworks at them.  Left over debris still litters the ground near Lonise's apartment, before it was over a firework crashed through a window.  Lonise says what shocked her the most is what she heard.

"They came back the second time and that's when they started yelling slurs," Lonise says. 

Chattanooga Police say the men inside the truck were later arrested for civil rights intimidation. 

"Officers pulled them over and questioned them," says Chattanooga Police Spokesperson, Jerri Weary.  "They confessed to throwing the fireworks and making the comments.  Some of the slurs they used were, 'run N-word run'."

According to Tennessee code, a person commits the offense of intimidating others from exercising civil rights when he/she injures or threatens to injure another person with intent to unlawfully intimidate, because that person exercised any right or privilege secured by the constitution.

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State code also says an individual is guilty of civil rights intimidation when he/she damages, destroys or defaces any real or personal property with intent to unlawfully intimidate another because that person exercised any right or privilege secured by the constitution.

"We don't need this type of stuff all over again," says Angela Lonise. 

Lonise says the whole thing was scary and shocking, "It doesn't make sense."

Channel 3 has also confirmed that 27-year-old, James D. Smiley, is a Hamilton County paramedic.  Sunday, a Hamilton County spokesperson says he has been suspended with pay, pending an internal investigation. 

All three men are scheduled to appear in court July 15th.

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