Local NAACP chapter responds to dropped charges against Charles Toney
Tuesday, criminal charges against Charles Toney were dropped, over a week after cell phone video showed Toney being punched and kicked by a Hamilton County Sheriff's detective while he was in handcuffs.
Prosecutors dropped the charges against Toney for assault, tampering with evidence, and resisting arrest.
Dr. Elenora Woods, president of the Hamilton County/Chattanooga NAACP, said the decision to drop the charges against Toney is a step in the right direction; but, the local NAACP is still calling for the officer involved, Blake Kilpatrick, to be fired.
"I was elated,” Dr. Woods says. “As we stated earlier, I expect nothing but honesty, and I expect for them to do this investigation fair."
At a news conference last week, Toney's lawyer Lee Merritt, a prominent civil rights attorney, called for the charges to be dropped.
In a statement, he said they are still calling for Kilpatrick, who is on desk duty, and all officers who participated or failed to intervene to be fired and charged criminally.
Dr. Woods agrees, "I'm angry. It's raging inside of me. But I also know, being the person that I am, that things have to be carefully sorted out."
The video has also sparked outcry from several local activists. Dr. Woods said it's important for their voices to be hear and wants to assure everyone that this case won't be forgotten.
"Definitely continue to let their voices be heard, but do it safely and do it lawfully," Dr. Woods says.
Dr. Woods wants other deputies to learn from this and plans to propose policy changes to the Hamilton County Commission. She is calling on the county to add more African Americans to the force.
Toney still faces a drug possession charge. He goes to court on that charge in February.
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