Sheriff: 'I did not see a body cavity search performed'
Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond said he supports his two deputies at the center of an excessive force investigation.
Deputies David Wilkey and Bobby Brewer are on paid leave after the district attorney's office released video of a traffic stop showing them kneeing, punching and searching James Mitchell.
Mitchell's attorney said his client was injured by the cavity search the deputies conducted.
Hammond sat down with Channel 3 Monday saying he disputes that claim and was adamant he did not see a body cavity search performed on the video.
The sheriff said his deputies followed procedure citing James Mitchell was combative and his deputies had already found marijuana in his pocket when they felt something in his pants, not knowing if it was a weapon or narcotics.
The video shows the deputies knee, punch and search Michelle without his pants on.
They later found crack cocaine in a bag while searching inside his underwear.
"I have no reason not to support. My officers made a lawful arrest. They did follow procedures when it came to finding contraband or drugs," Hammond said, "This was not a matter of just strip your clothes off and throw them down and leave you naked out on the street."
Tennessee Code Annotated states a body cavity search can only be performed by a licensed medical professional with a warrant or consent.
"You don't have to have somebody out on the side of the road where you're concerned for your safety and call for a court order or for a medical doctor to come to the scene. You have to first and foremost protect your own self against any injury and then you also have to protect any contraband that has to be recovered," Hammond added.
Mitchell's attorney disputes what the sheriff said, saying his client did have a body cavity search and has injuries from it.
Both of the deputies remain on paid leave as internal and criminal investigations continue.
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