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Lithonia police chief terminated after private investigation

Allegations against the chief included missing guns from ongoing investigations, missing badges and personnel allegations from officers regarding paid time.

LITHONIA, Ga. -- The City of Lithonia has fired their police chief following a private investigation.

Chief Roosevelt Smith was terminated earlier in the month at a city council meeting. According to city attorney Winston Denmark, former officers brought personnel issues to the city in December which spurred the city to hire a private investigator.

RELATED | Lithonia Police chief cleared of wrong-doing in choking investigation

That investigation concluded in May and the findings were provided to the mayor and council during an executive session. They came out of that session with a motion to fire Smith.

Lithonia city officials told 11Alive it was a group of former officers who came forward with the allegations against the now former police chief. They said Smith took guns that were evidence in active investigations and accused him of creating a hostile work environment for years.

Allegations against the chief also included missing badges and personnel allegations from officers regarding paid time.

“We’ve been complaining about this guy since he became a captain and since he became a chief,” former officer Foster Hill Jr. said.

11Alive has reported on the battle between Smith and his officers for quite some time.

Back in 2016, a group of officers accused Smith of excessive force saying a choked a teenager who was already in handcuffs. The officers who complained had to do so anonymously.

MORE | Lithonia police chief under investigation for allegedly choking teen in handcuffs

“I wish the residents of Lithonia the best because they deserve better,” a former Lithonia police officer said.

But those complaints didn’t stick. The city council investigated and Smith was put back to work. Two years later, Smith is now out of a job.

The interim police chief has asked the GBI to step in because they said Smith and possibly some other officers are misusing a statewide database allowing them to look into innocent people’s backgrounds.

According to the Lithonia Police Department's own Facebook page, Smith has roughly 30 years experience in public safety in and around the state of Georgia.

Smith could not be reached for comment.

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