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Police probe charges of assault by trooper in East Franklin

Chuck Biedka
| Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pennsylvania State Police officials confirmed that they are investigating charges that a state trooper repeatedly punched a suspect he was questioning.

Josey L. Hawkins, 20, of Rural Valley said he was assaulted by a trooper on Wednesday at the state police station in East Franklin.

State police spokeswoman Lt. Myra Taylor in Harrisburg said she was aware of the alleged incident.

"It's under investigation," Taylor said. "State police investigate any claim against troopers and take action if there are grounds," she said. "If troopers are falsely accused, we will investigate that, too," she said.

Taylor declined to confirm the identify of the trooper who is accused of assaulting Hawkins.

At the East Franklin station, a state police corporal said he couldn't comment and referred questions to the station commander.

In an e-mail, the lieutenant said he was being apprised of the matter.

A state police supervisor said the trooper in question wasn't working Friday and messages left for the trooper weren't returned.

Hawkins said the incident began about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday when a car in which he was riding was stopped. Police said the car matched the description of one suspected of being involved in a crime in Templeton about two weeks ago. Both Hawkins and the car's driver were taken to the East Franklin station for questioning.

Hawkins said he was questioned by the trooper for "three or four hours" and was "repeatedly asked about some crimes -- burglaries or robberies -- in Templeton."

Hawkins said he told the trooper he didn't know what he was talking about.

"Then he went crazy. He hit me once and I yelled to get him off me," he said.

Hawkins alleges that two other state troopers restrained the officer but not before he hit Hawkins several more times.

"Now they're telling me I'm going to be charged for assault because I put my foot on the trooper who was hitting me. I did that to keep him away after he punched me and threw me into another chair," Hawkins alleged.

Hawkins said he eventually was released without being charged and his father took him to nearby ACMH Hospital.

"At the hospital, they told me I had a concussion, contusions and a sprained neck," Hawkins said.

Hawkins denies any involvement in the Templeton crimes but admitted he's had a troubled past.

Hawkins said he got into trouble at Lenape Technical School over having some medicine at school. That charge was dropped on March 3, 2011, and he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. Records show he previously pleaded guilty to not attending school as required and for using tobacco there.

He now is a senior at Adelphoi Village.

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