Updated: Sep 13, 2022
CENTRE - After a video surfaced on social media of law enforcement officers in Centre attempting to arrest two individuals at Easy Street over Labor Day weekend, questions have been raised about an off-duty Cherokee County Sheriff's deputy using excessive force and seeming to be intoxicated himself while doing so. Along with other law enforcement officers just standing around allowing it to happen.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on Tuesday, September 13, nine days later, regarding the incident that occurred at Easy Street in Centre on Sunday, September 4.
Statement from Cherokee County Sheriff's Office Regarding Incident at Easy Street:
During the very early morning hours of Sunday, September 4, 2022, 911 calls were made regarding a fight at Easy Street Bar and Restaurant in Centre. Centre Police on the scene requested assistance and personnel from Leesburg Police and the Sheriff’s Office responded. The altercation had moved to the parking lot and law enforcement officers were attempting to arrest the two primary individuals involved.
Leesburg Police and the Sheriff’s Office arrested, Jason Mallett, 44 of Leesburg, and charged him two counts of harassment (toward a law enforcement officer), with disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. Mallett was transported to the Cherokee County Detention Center by the arresting deputy.
The other individual, Terry Hawkins, Jr., 33 of Leesburg, involved had resisted and was placed on the ground by police. While on the ground, Hawkins continued to resist and would not allow officers to handcuff him. A Centre officer deployed a Taser twice during the time he was resisting arrest. Hawkins continued to resist after the Taser deployment and an off-duty deputy deployed three elbow strikes, a technique officers are trained in the academy, to Hawkins and he then complied and was cuffed. Centre Police arrested Hawkins for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and transported him to the Centre Police Department.
On-scene law enforcement requested additional assistance three times during the altercation, but all available on-duty law enforcement officers were already at the location.
As part of normal Sheriff’s Office protocol, an internal investigation has been underway since the incident occurred and an outside agency is also investigating the use of force.
Bystander footage of the incident is below; viewer discretion is advised:
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