Two Russell County deputies and a Phenix City officer resign following assault

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

RUSSELL COUNTY, AL. (WTVM) -- Two Russell County deputies and a Phenix City police officer have resigned after a suspect was beaten while taken into custody.

According to Russell County Sheriff Tommy Boswell, Russell County deputies Kirby Dollar and Tim Watford resigned this week. Phenix City police officer Rachael Hauser resigned Thursday.

All three were placed on administrative leave without pay after a suspect was beaten while being taken into custody.

Law enforcement agencies from Lee County, Russell County, and Phenix City held a joint press conference on Nov. 28th to announce the suspension of Russell County deputies Kirby Dollar and Tim Watford, as well as Phenix City police officer Rachael Hauser.

On Nov. 26, three local bail bondsmen located a suspect, Patrick Harrington, 31, wanted on several charges in Harris (Ga.), Russell, and Escambia counties. Harrington has been on the run for the past few weeks, with several charges following him, including attempted murder, theft and various drug charges.

Three bondsmen found him asleep in his car on Mullin Road in Lee County and called Russell County deputies after taking him into custody. Russell County deputies Kirby Dollar and Tim Watford, along with Phenix City Police officer Rachael Hauser, were drinking alcohol at a party when they got the call saying Patrick Harrington had been picked up.

Russell County Sheriff Tommy Boswell said, "The three individuals drove to where the bondsmen had the individual. The bondsmen had already tased him and he was on the ground handcuffed, recovering from the tase. When the drug agent got there and began to assault him."

Both deputies, Dollar and Watford, assaulted the suspect, causing head trauma and injuries to his upper body. Harrington was taken to Jack Houghston Memorial Hospital to be treated for his injuries. The two deputies did not use weapons of any kind during the assault. Officer Hauser played no role in the beating.

"We began an internal evaluation and investigation to see what happened and as a result these three individuals are in serious trouble," Sheriff Boswell told News Leader Nine.

Sheriff Boswell adds a Lee County grand jury could bring charges against the officers in the next few weeks, "All of us are very disturbed and disappointed about this incident and the way it came about."

Phenix City Police Chief Ray Smith added, "I can't think of a single case that would justify this kind of action. He was taken into custody, it was under control and didn't need to go any further. Policy dictates that is tops, the law dictates that it stop and professionalism dictates that it stop."

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