On July 27, 2014 a tornado swept through the Rock Springs area of Kingsport leaving significant damage. Perhaps, the most extreme damage was found at 1912 Rock Springs Road where a home was almost destroyed.More >>
On July 27, 2014 a tornado swept through the Rock Springs area of Kingsport leaving significant damage. Witnessing the damage first hand, a nearby neighbor ran to help.More >>
NIOTA (WATE) - A man who was allegedly beaten last summer by two Niota police officers is speaking out about the incident.
Officer Donald McCarter, 45, and Officer Jonathan Scott, 22, are each charged with one count of official oppression.
The arrest of Ray Stewart dates back to a traffic stop last summer. He's finally sharing his side of the story with 6 News.
Stewart, who was in Niota for work, was pulled over by the two officers on his way to a city council meeting.
He says the reason he was going to the meeting was to complain about illegal activity he thought the Niota Police Department was involved in.
Stewart says he was surprised when the two officers allegedly came into his home unannounced after the traffic stop.
"I ended up being beaten," Stewart said. "I was down in the floor in a pool of blood. (I was) black and blue in many areas from my head to my toes."
He says he was riding his motor scooter when he was pulled over near his home.
Stewart also says a few days earlier, he was pulled over because officers believed it was illegal to be on the roadway.
He says the second time he was pulled over he was so close to his home, he told the officers he would go inside to get the paperwork.
"He returned to the cruiser and I went into my building to call 911, which is what I did, and to get him the documents," said Stewart. "Officer Scott followed Sgt. McCarter into the building and an altercation occurred."
Stewart says the alleged beating only lasted a couple of minutes, but the worst part was that his wife and 17-year-old daughter witnessed the entire incident.
He also says three or four McMinn County sheriff's deputies were outside his home when he was assaulted.
McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy says his deputies did nothing wrong.
"We've looked into that case," the sheriff said. "There were several, evidently several encounters Mr. Stewart had with the Niota Police Department. My officers backed them up on one of those, at least one of those encounters, but didn't get there until the altercation or incident was over."
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officials say the investigation into this incident is closed, unless new information comes forward.
Stewart says he hopes there are more arrests in the future. "Many people have asked me to be quiet about things, and I have intentionally not sued yet in the hopes of bringing them to the public eye," he said.
All charges against Stewart were dismissed before the two officers were arrested.
Niota City Council held an emergency meeting Wednesday, voting to suspend both officers without pay.
If found innocent, Mayor Lois Preece says both will be reinstated. If they're found guilty, both will be terminated.
The Niota Police Department only has three officers. With two gone, the McMinn County Sheriff's Office will help patrol on nights and weekends.