Officer charged after video shows beating - WSMV Channel 4

Officer charged after video shows beating

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A Middle Tennessee man believes his video camera is the only reason he is not in jail.

He not only avoided criminal charges because of this tape, but the tape has also led to the arrest of an off-duty deputy and one police department to change its policies.

Earl Lewis was handcuffed on two separate occasions by two separate officers and in two different jurisdictions.

Lewis has no criminal record, and he tries to never get too excited. After all, he is a heart transplant survivor with three back surgeries and two knee surgeries. That is why his confrontations with police seem so out of character.

Lewis lived in Dickson with Danny Givens and Givens' daughter, Amanda Givens. She moved out, but when she decided to come back for her things a month later, Amanda Givens' mother asked her to get a 'civil standby,' in which an officer stands by to make sure nothing happens. The request was made allegedly due to Earl Lewis having unwanted romantic notions toward Amanda Givens.

There had never been a single domestic call to the home, and in fact, the three who lived there say they were, and still are, close friends.

"Earl was never no threat. Amanda had been here talking to me. She knew she was in no danger. Being a daddy, do you think I'm gong to let somebody bother my daughter?" Danny Givens said.

Dickson police Officer Scott Hull came to the house with Amanda, but never identifies himself to homeowner Lewis before just walking inside.

"Never told me who he was, never told me why he was here. I asked who was he looking for, and he was non-responsive to any of my questions," Lewis said.

Lewis said, because of that, he didn't know Amanda Givens was in the bedroom until it was too late.

In an audio recording, Hull is heard yelling for Lewis to put his hands up. When Hull realizes Lewis has a gun, which he legally owns and carries, things get even more heated.

"I was in fear of Earl's life. I really thought he was going to hurt Earl," Danny Givens said.

Danny Givens then grabbed Lewis' video camera and turned it on before things calmed down.

"If an officer can walk in your house and do what they done, it can happen to anybody," Danny Givens said.

What about Amanda Givens? After all, she was the is why Hull was at the home at all, for her protection.

"My dad was there. I really didn't need a civil standby," she said.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation looked into the incident and found no wrongdoing because Hull was invited into the home by Amanda Givens, who used to live there.

Nevertheless, Dickson Police Chief Rick Chandler has changed the department's policy because of this incident.

"There should be communications," he said.

Now, officers must identify themselves and cannot enter homes without the homeowner's permission.

In the Lewis incident, the first officer to respond as back-up was Dickson County sheriff's Deputy Kenneth Brown.

One month later, Brown was involved in a similar incident.

Amanda Givens was now living somewhere else in the county, and Lewis and Danny Givens came to pick her up for an appointment, but Amanda Givens was not at home.

The homeowner, Nick Jackson, then arrived, upset. He appears to have a heart episode, and Brown arrives to assist him.

As the camera rolls, emotions become heated once again.

"Get that ***damn camera away from me, son," Brown is heard saying.

After Brown appears to strike Lewis, Jackson appears to strike Lewis before Brown is seen taking Lewis to the ground.

As Brown holds Lewis down and calls for assistance, Jackson walks over and kicks Lewis in the face.

"Why didn't that officer make him quit kicking him?" Danny Givens said.

Brown, off duty at the time, has Lewis arrested for a double assault. He said Lewis assaulted Brown and Jackson.

So, Lewis begins making calls and demanding the sheriff's department look at the videotape, but the camera is sitting in the evidence room.

Eventually, the sheriff gives the camera to the district attorney and soon the whole criminal investigation flips.

Once the district attorney looked at the videotape, all charges were dropped against Lewis, and Brown and Jackson were then charged with assault.

"If I had not had that video camera, I would have been charged and found guilty," Lewis said.

"I'm telling you, if it could happen to this man, it could happen to everybody. If they get by with it, it makes it that much worse," Danny Givens said.

The attorney for Brown released a statement to the Channel 4 I-Team:

"Any statements made by the parties implicating Mr. Brown in any wrongdoing is clearly in contradiction to statements made to officers on the scene investigating the incident. Mr. Brown denies any wrongdoing and looks forward to his day in court."

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