Willie Smith's trial postponed for depositions

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 | 12:28 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The attorney for Willie Smith was again granted a continuance Wednesday morning to have more time to take a deposition from the arresting officer.

Smith is charged with resisting arrest after a incident on March 9 in the parking lot of Smokin’ Chick’s BBQ Restaurant. Smith, who owns the cleaning company Magic Services Inc., was cleaning the business next door at around 5 a.m. when Columbia police officers responded to an alarm at the restaurant. Smith was in a vehicle in the parking lot with another passenger, his nephew.

Smith has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Smith's attorney, David Tyson Smith (no relation), said in an interview Tuesday that he would be requesting a continuance in order to take a deposition from arresting Officer Robert Fox as well as other officers involved in the incident.

In a probable cause statement, Fox stated that Willie Smith used physical force to resist arrest when Fox tried to detain him, forcing Fox to use pepper spray on Smith in order to take him into custody.

David Tyson Smith said after reviewing the audio tape of the incident that there is nothing in the recording indicating that Willie Smith was resisting arrest.

Smith filed a formal complaint on March 12 alleging that police used excessive force while arresting him.

In May, a Columbia Police Department internal investigation concluded that officers involved in the incident acted appropriately.

Malia Parnell, who appeared in place of David Tyson Smith at the Wednesday hearing, said the depositions were going to be scheduled for mid-July.

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