Federal charges added in July case of lit fireworks thrown at Chattanooga homes

Federal charges added in July case of lit fireworks thrown at Chattanooga homes

November 1st, 2011 by Todd South in News

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

Three men arrested in July on charges they threw lit fireworks and yelled racial slurs at black residents of East Lake Courts now face federal charges related to the incident.

James "Danny" Smiley, 27, a former Hamilton County Emergency Services paramedic; Colton Partin, 21; and Kyle Montgomery, 21, were charged in state court with civil rights intimidation shortly after the July 9 incident.

The U.S. attorney's office filed a charge of one count of conspiracy against rights against each of the men in federal court on Oct. 28.

Office spokeswoman Sharry Dedman-Beard said Monday the investigation is ongoing and she could not comment.

The federal charge carries a one- to three-year prison sentence but can be adjusted up or down, depending on a defendant's criminal history and cooperation with prosecutors.

No court date was listed on the federal courts website.

Smiley's attorney in both state and federal court, Robin Flores, also said he could not comment on the pending case. Smiley quit his paramedic job a few days after being arrested.

Partin's attorney in both state and federal court, Lee Davis said Monday, "We believe the charge to be a fair charge given the situation."

Montgomery's attorney, Andrea Cribben-Acosta, could not be reached for comment.

The three white men waived their rights to a preliminary hearing during an August state sessions court date. Their state charges were then sent to the Hamilton County grand jury for possible indictment. The grand jury has not returned any indictments at this point.

Witnesses told police the men drove up and down Fourth Avenue past East Lake Courts and aimed Roman candles at people sitting outside while yelling racial slurs at the group.

At the time of the August hearing, Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd described surveillance video of the incident as "pretty graphic and pretty violent."

Contact staff writer Todd South at tsouth@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347.