Probable cause hearing continued for officer in school confrontation
Published 3:45 pm Tuesday, July 3, 2007
A probable cause hearing to determine if a Greenwood police officer should face criminal charges for a confrontation with an unarmed high school student has been continued.
James Marshall, an 18-year-old senior at Greenwood High School, claims Casey Wiggins, an officer working at the school, violated his civil rights by using excessive force.
Several witnesses, including Marshall, testified at a hearing Monday. Judge Ashley Hines granted a prosecution request to continue the trial until Thursday when several witnesses did not show up, according to attorneys on both sides.
Marshall’s attorney, Carlos Moore, of Grenada, and Wiggins’ lawyer, Mitchell Creel, of Greenville, both said they would wait until the hearing is over to comment.
A school surveillance camera captured the Dec. 6 scuffle and each side claims the images back up its story. They show the officer pointing his gun at Marshall’s head and the officer putting Marshall in a choke hold.
Wiggins says he was only trying to restrain Marshall, who the officer claims was resisting.
Moore has filed a $2 million lawsuit and a federal criminal complaint with the U.S Justice Department. It accuses Wiggins of excessive force and of making a false arrest under the color of law.
According to state law, police officers and public school teachers are entitled to a probable cause hearing before arrest if accused of committing a felony or misdemeanor while on duty.