Tallassee mayor says city sued over police action

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 11:24 PM CDT
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TALLASSEE, Ala. (WSFA) - The Tallassee Police Department is facing controversy over alleged use of excessive force.

Outgoing Mayor Johnny Hammock said a lawsuit has been filed over a recent arrest. Hammock said the lawsuit against the city was served Tuesday on behalf of Toney Brown, who was arrested on May 30.

Court records show Brown, 47, faces multiple charges, including resisting arrest, reckless endangerment, attempted assault, attempting to elude, possession of marijuana, criminal mischief, driving under the influence of a controlled substance and driving with an expired license.

According to the arrest report, an officer pulled over Brown on Hillcrest Street on the night of May 30. The officer said he saw marijuana and asked Brown to get out of the car. Brown allegedly punched the officer then drove off. Police say Brown jumped out of the car, which crashed into a mobile home on Fig Lane, and ran away before multiple officers on foot caught up to him. Records indicate Brown fell face-first in a ditch while running away.

According to the arrest report, the officer who pulled him over hit Brown in the lower torso and legs with his baton. Medics said he had “superficial cuts” and did not need hospitalization.

Once in custody, Brown reportedly said he was “going in and out of consciousness” and needed medical attention. He was taken to Tallassee Community Hospital.

The mayor told WSFA 12 News that same officer was involved in a separate incident on June 19 where he allegedly used a stun gun on a handcuffed person at a party on West James Street.

Hammock said videos of both incidents surfaced online.

Hammock said these two incidents are the reason he asked the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to investigate the officer last week. ALEA confirmed an investigation is underway.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, city leaders said ALEA and the Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission are both investigating, and they plan to pursue what is recommended.

Hammock said he previously confronted Tallassee Police Chief Todd Buce about the arrest that spurred the lawsuit and demanded to see body camera footage. The arrest report states the officer’s body camera was activated throughout the May 30 arrest. That video has not been publicly released.

WSFA 12 News previously reached out to Buce for comment but did not hear back.

Tuesday was Hammock’s last City Council meeting. He’s stepping down as mayor at end of day Thursday. Hammock said his final act will be meeting with NAACP members about the incident.

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