UPDATE: EMT accused of civil rights intimidation resigns
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- A Hamilton County employee has resigned, following accusations of civil rights intimidation.
Mike Dunne, spokesperson for the Hamilton County Mayor's Office, James D. Smiley resigned from his job as a county EMT, Monday, after a hearing over an alleged incident at East Lake Courts Saturday morning.
Smiley was one of three men arrested on charges of civil rights intimidation after police say, they used racial slurs while throwing fireworks at nearby residents.
According to Tennessee Code 39-17-309, all three men could face felony charges.
Attorney Jerry Tidwell tells Channel 3 that civil rights intimidation is a not a very common case in Tennessee Court.
"Since 1999, when the statute was passed, I can't find a single case that has interpreting the statue which means not many cases have been taken up on appeal," says Tidwell.
In fact, Washington vs. Robertson County was only the appeal on record over the last 12 years.
Tidwell says proving this type of offense is also very difficult.
"You may have a situation where someone is acting stupid," says Tidwell. "And then you may actually have a situation where someone is obviously trying to intimidate someone from having their rights."
Police say the three could face additional charges from the Chattanooga Housing Authority because property was damaged.
If convicted, the men could face up to 12 years in prison.