Hamilton County detective seen on video punching, kicking handcuffed man is placed on 'desk duty'

Hamilton County Sherrif Jim Hammond speaks about the recent video showing a deputy kicking a handcuffed black man during an arrest. From left are, Commissioner Warren Mackey, County Commissioner Katherlyn Geter, Hammond and Dr. Elenora Woods.
Hamilton County Sherrif Jim Hammond speaks about the recent video showing a deputy kicking a handcuffed black man during an arrest. From left are, Commissioner Warren Mackey, County Commissioner Katherlyn Geter, Hammond and Dr. Elenora Woods.
photo Charles Toney (Contributed photo by Hamilton County Jail)

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office offered few details Monday about an investigation involving a white detective seen punching and kicking a handcuffed black man over the weekend, but the NAACP vowed to fight for justice.

The altercation was caught on a video and posted to Facebook, where it had been viewed more than 82,000 times as of late Monday. But while Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond didn't offer much information during a Monday news conference, Charles Toney's arrest report and other court records reveal a better picture of what happened.

The altercation took place on Dec. 3 as law enforcement officials were attempting to arrest the 24-year-old Toney on felony warrants, Hammond said. Court records show a grand jury indicted Toney on Oct. 3 on drugs and weapons-related charges.

On Dec. 3, Detective Blake Kilpatrick and other officers were executing the warrant and saw Toney standing outside a home with what they say was a marijuana "blunt," or cigar, according to an arrest report. However, Toney tossed the blunt and it was not found.

At that point, officers tried to arrest him, "gave fist strikes to his back area" and forcefully put his hands behind his back to cuff him.

But while he was handcuffed, Kilpatrick said, Toney kept trying to reach into his pockets despite being told to stop, according to the arrest report. Kilpatrick then took Toney to the ground.

Officers then stood Toney back up after he said he couldn't breathe.

Around that time is when the minute-long video on Facebook picks up. Kilpatrick is seen taking Toney back to the ground, dragging him by his shirt and punching him at least six times before kicking him at least once.

"I got a collapsed lung, broken finger, broken nose, and broken ribs," Toney wrote in a Dec. 8 Facebook post.

According to the arrest report, Kilpatrick stated he was concerned about what he thought could be a weapon in Toney's pocket, which is why he took Toney back to the ground.

While on the ground, Kilpatrick said, Toney bit his finger.

The video shows only Kilpatrick punching Toney twice in the mouth before Kilpatrick shakes his hand as if in pain.

The video then cuts off, but the arrest report states Toney continued to resist and spit in Kilpatrick's face as they were trying to put him in the patrol unit.

"I then delivered a fist strike to stop him from further assaulting me," Kilpatrick wrote in the arrest report.

Hammond called for an internal affairs investigation and placed Kilpatrick, who has been with the sheriff's office for about 10 years, on what he called "desk duty."

However, Kilpatrick did compete in Friday's Guns and Hoses, a police and firefighters charity competition.

"Certainly, I'm always alarmed when the citizens raise a question as to our behaviour as police officers," Hammond said. "I hold it very personal to me that we follow protocol. Protocol is there for a reason. Any time we see something that raises suspicion, I want a thorough investigation to see, 'Is it what it seems to be?' Again, I caution the public. So often we only see certain portions of videotape. But the one thing is unmistakable. He was in handcuffs."

The case was turned over to Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston's office, Hammond said. Pinkston's office since has said it has referred the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice.

"I saw the video," said Hamilton County Commissioner Katherlyn Geter. "[I] was very disturbed, to say the least, [about] what took place. This is not the first incident that has transpired here in our area."

In March 2017, a Hamilton County vehicle pursuit took a violent turn, leading to a beating so severe one of the suspect's testicles was ruptured. That incident resulted in a federal lawsuit against the sheriff's office.

Other agencies within the county have faced allegations of police brutality during arrests.

On Oct. 21, a 27-year-old man woke up in Parkridge Medical Center East's intensive care unit after an East Ridge Police Department arrest left him with a chipped tooth, a hammering heart, a bruise the size of a grapefruit around his groin and more on his stomach, wrists and sides.

As for Toney, Hammond said he did not need medical attention after the arrest.

"He was examined by the on-staff nurse at the jail who found that he was fit to continue to be booked," the sheriff said. "There [were] no injuries that required hospitalization, stitches or any further treatment at the hospital."

However, Toney posted a Facebook live video showing himself in a hospital bed on Sunday morning. But Hammond said he was told Toney was involved in an accident earlier on Monday.

"I have no idea whether that may have perpetrated some of his injuries or not," Hammond said. "It's too early in the investigation to tell if there was any relevancy there."

Geter said she wants to make sure the sheriff's office handles the investigation properly.

"We know that that will occur," she said, adding she wants to "make sure that the concerns of the public are addressed and are heard and that due process is given."

The NAACP also has gotten involved.

"The NAACP is going to be working with the sheriff's department to make sure justice is served in this incident," chapter President Elenora Woods said. "We don't know all the details right now, but we can assure you that we will not rest if injustice has occurred. If it has occurred, we will be on top of it."

Contact staff writer Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.

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