by: Trish Williford Updated:
SALISBURY, N.C. - The family of a 92-year-old pastor is accusing a Salisbury police officer of slamming him into the ground at an assisted living center, breaking bones in his pelvis.
The family filed a lawsuit against that officer and the city of Salisbury.
Shari Keller is heartbroken by what she said happened to her 92-year-old father when he was a resident at the Salisbury Gardens Assisted Living facility.
She said her father, J.W. Loy, is a minister and spent his life serving his community.
But when he became belligerent in the home last year and started waving his cane at staff members she said two Salisbury police officers arrived minutes later.
Officer Chris Hamm was one of them.
“Officer Hamm started backing my daddy up and yelling at him,” Keller said.
As Hamm got closer to her father, the officer turned violent, she said.
“He grabbed him behind the collar. Grabbed him by the left arm, spun him and slammed him into the floor,” she said. “My daddy laid there in that floor.”
Keller said her father suffered broken bones in his pelvis and spent four days in the hospital.
She said Loy should never have been handled so violently.
“My daddy could've died right there that night at the hands of someone that we pay to protect and serve,” she said.
Hamm’s attorney said in an email Tuesday Loy was trying to hit the other officer with his cane and Hamm grabbed the elderly man by the shoulder.
The email stated Hamm attempted to break the fall, and, "This was not the officer's intent to injure Loy."
Channel 9 dug into Hamm's record; this is not the first report accusing him of violence on duty.
Last October, Hamm was one of the police officers accused of crushing a man's windpipe during an arrest.
Salisbury police said the suspect, 30-year-old Graham Hosch, didn't listen to the officers. He was charged with a misdemeanor.
Channel 9 looked and could find no record against Hosch with the Department of Corrections.
And the allegations don't end with Hamm. The NAACP told Channel 9 it has been looking into claims of brutality within the Salisbury Police Department since 2009.
It wants a federal review of the department.
The city has also promised a thorough investigation of Salisbury police.
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