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Current, former Lithonia officers call for chief's firing

A group of current and former Lithonia Police officers are now joining together and calling for the city's police chief to be fired.
The city of Lithonia is investigating a complaint of excessive force after a teenager says he was choked while handcuffed. His story is supported by the testimony of another police officer, once named officer of the year.


LITHONIA, Ga. -- A group of current and former Lithonia police officers is now joining together and calling for the city's police chief to be fired.

Police Chief Roosevelt Smith is under investigation for charges of excessive force but officers said that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Sunday night, only 11Alive's Ryan Kruger was allowed inside a private meeting of current and former Lithonia police officers. They asked us not to show their faces or reveal their identities because they fear for their jobs.

"I wish the residents of Lithonia the best because they deserve better service than what they're getting," said one former officer.

Attorney Frank Smith was at the Sunday night meeting because his client, Isiah Harvey, alleges the police chief choked him while he was handcuffed in the backseat of the squad car.


Attorney Smith said since he's began investigating the case he's learned shocking details about the police chief's behavior.

"There's this attitude that the buck stops with me," Smith said, "and if there is anybody who disagrees with him in anyway there will be hell to pay."

A group of officers filed a seven-page letter called "The problem with the Lithonia Police Department."

The officers accuse the chief of cronyism, dishonesty and unethical behavior.

"It says volumes. It says the people who work under you don't have any faith in you," Frank Smith said.

The Lithonia city manager is investigating the excessive force allegations.

Monday, the Lithonia City Council will be holding a special meeting to discuss the police chief's future.

Former officer Foster Hill, Jr. said city leaders have known about the complaints for months.

"How could you not know?" he said. "We've been complaining for almost a year."

When asked if the residents of Lithonia were safe while Smith stayed in office, Hill responded "they are not safe."

Chief Smith said he cannot comment because of the ongoing investigation.

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