Chattanooga: County worker, 2 others charged with intimidation

Chattanooga: County worker, 2 others charged with intimidation

July 11th, 2011 by Kate Harrison Belz in Local - Breaking News

Colton Partin, 21 Charged with civil rights intimidation on 7/10/11 along with James Smiley, 27, and Kyle Montgomery, 21

The tattered remnants of dozens of bottle rockets line the grass in front of East Lake Courts, where residents say three men - including a Hamilton County EMT worker - threw ignited fireworks at their homes as the men drove down Fourth Avenue belting racial slurs early Saturday morning.

James Smiley, 27 Charged with civil rights intimidation on 7/10/11 along with Kyle Montgomery, 21, and Colton Partin, 21.

The firecrackers shattered a window in one of the units where children were sleeping, neighbors say.

Angela Williams, who lives next to the unit where the window was broken, said Sunday she was on her front stoop with friends around 3:40 a.m. when the truck rattled by and she heard the shouts and the explosions.

Kyle Montgomery, 21 Charged with civil rights intimidation on 7/10/11 along with James Smiley, 27, and Colton Partin, 21

"We froze; we thought it might be gunshots. Then we all hustled inside. They drove by, threw out the packs of fireworks, then turned around and drove back down," she said.

According to an arrest report, Colton Partin, 21; Kyle Montgomery, 21; and James Smiley, 27, drove up and down the boulevard multiple times throwing the explosives and yelling racial slurs.

The three were arrested shortly after they drove away. Fireworks were still in their truck bed, and they admitted to the harassment, according to a court affidavit.

All have been charged with civil rights intimidation, which can carry a felony sentence.

Smiley, 27, is an employee with Hamilton County Emergency Medical Services. He has since been suspended with pay pending further investigation, according to Mike Dunne, spokesman for the Hamilton County mayor's office.

Williams said no one from the complex had seen the men before.

"It was just completely random," she said. "They had no reason to do it. It seems they just have something against black people."

No one has been charged for the damaged window, a fact Williams says disturbs her.

The three men have since made bond. None of them was able to be reached by phone Sunday evening.

Contact staff writer Kate Harrison at kharrison@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6673.