Paramedic quits amid charges

Paramedic quits amid charges

July 12th, 2011 by Kate Harrison Belz in News

These men were charged with civil rights intimidation on 7/10/11 James Smiley, 27, and Kyle Montgomery, 21, Colton Partin, 21.

Photo by

A Hamilton County paramedic resigned Monday afternoon after being accused of throwing lit fireworks and shouting racial slurs at a public housing complex, authorities said.

James Smiley, 27, and two other men are accused of throwing the fireworks in the direction of the East Lake Courts public housing complex while shouting racial slurs at people sitting outside early Saturday morning.

Smiley, Colton Partin, 21, and Kyle Montgomery, 21, were arrested shortly after they drove away from the complex. Fireworks were still in their truck bed, and the three admitted to the harassment, according to a court affidavit.

All three are charged with civil rights intimidation.

Attempts to reach Smiley were unsuccessful Monday.

Smiley had been a paramedic with Hamilton County Emergency Services since September 2009, according to Mike Dunne, spokesman for Hamilton County mayor's office.

Smiley submitted his resignation after an "interdepartmental hearing" during which he was questioned by his superiors. Dunne would not say whether Smiley was asked to submit his resignation.

On Saturday, the fireworks shattered a window in one of the units where children were sleeping, neighbors said at the time.

Angela Williams, who lives in the unit next to the one where the window was shattered, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that 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.

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

The next court date for the three men is scheduled for Friday before Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck.