Two local bondsmen appear in court for aggravated assault - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Two local bondsmen appear in court for aggravated assault

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - Two local bondsmen who found themselves on the other side of the law appeared before a judge Wednesday.

Charles Key, the owner of Key Bonding, and Antonio Boston were both charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault from a February incident.

Police say they tried making an arrest and in the process, shot at a car's tire and chased down a group of people with guns drawn. Witnesses said the pair never identified themselves as bondsmen.

The district attorney said they went too far but the bondsmen said they were well within the law.

"I think a lot of people are going to learn about what the actual authority of a bail bondsmen is," said Defense Attorney Bill Speek. "They have the right to arrest. In fact, they're instructed to arrest."

Defense attorneys for Charles Key and Antonio Boston argue Tennessee law sides with their clients, saying "in some regards, bondsmen have more arresting power than police."

"Reasonable force can be used up unto breaking into a house and pulling somebody out without a warrant. The police can't do that. A bondsman can," said Jonathan Turner, Boston's attorney.

Judge Gary Starnes dropped the aggravated assault charges against Key but kept them for Boston. Those charges now got to the grand jury. If Boston is convicted, Turner said it would be up to a criminal court judge to decide if he can remain a bondsman of the court.

Key was also charged with reckless endangerment. That charge has also been bound over to the grand jury.
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