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Martinsville Officers Could Face Criminal Charges

Last updated on Thursday, April 1, 2010

(MARTINSVILLE) - Two Martinsville police officers who slapped and tased a 10-year-old boy could face disciplinary or criminal charges.

Police Chief Jon Davis emphasizes he wasn't at Tender Teddies Day Care, and doesn't want to prejudge the case. But the level of force on a 10-year-old prompted Assistant Chief Dan Riffel to consult prosecutors.

Officers William Jennings and Darren Johnson were then placed on paid leave while the Morgan County Sheriff's Department investigates.

"I think if they could have just restrained the young man, just held him down, that might have ended the situation," Davis concedes.

Police say Jennings had answered a call at the day care center last week about the same boy. In the most recent call, according to Johnson's report, the boy had been hitting and kicking other children and trying to throw porch furniture through the center's front window.

When Jennings and Johnson arrived, the report says that the boy kicked Johnson in the leg, then hit the day care operator and swore at her. Jennings then smacked the boy in the mouth when he refused to apologize.

Johnson's report notes that he displayed his taser to the boy and warned him to calm down. When the boy followed the slap by lunging at the day care operator and fighting with the officers, the report says that Johnson tased him.

Davis and Riffel say they hope to complete the investigation within a week.

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