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DA to investigate strip search of black man in drug arrest

July 12, 2019

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A prosecutor says he’s seeking state and federal help as he investigates potential excessive force during a Tennessee traffic stop strip search of a black man before his drug charge arrest.

Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston said he’s somewhat disturbed at footage of Wednesday’s Soddy-Daisy incident involving sheriff’s deputies subsequently placed on paid administrative leave.

A deputy’s affidavit says he stopped a car for dark-tinted windows, smelled marijuana, and 41-year-old James Myron Mitchell said he smoked a joint and another deputy found a small marijuana bag on him.

It says Mitchell was combative, reached to his waistband and a deputy kneed him. Dash-cam footage shows deputies searching Mitchell’s partly pulled-down boxers.

It says Mitchell tried kicking them, a deputy hit him and they found a 1.16-gram crack cocaine bag in Mitchell’s underwear and a used syringe nearby.

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