KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Michael Mallicoat is homeless. Knoxville Police picked him up last month for disorderly conduct, public intoxication and resisting arrest. According to his lawyer, officers were so rough with him that he ended up in the hospital.
After reviewing video of the officers' actions, Police Chief David Rausch opened a criminal and internal affairs investigation against officers Jeremy Jinnett, Ty Compton and Chris Whitfield.
Police can't comment until the investigation is over, but some homeless people already have an opinion:
"They're just plain too violent for homeless people that are peaceful - we're just homeless, we're not fighters. There's been broken bones the way they throw us around and when they put us in the police car, they don't say watch your head - they throw you in there and the top of your head hits the car," said a homeless man who calls himself Tumble Weed.
"They busted my mouth from the outside in, and kicked me in the face. I have a scar on the side of my face," said Roy Robinson, who is also homeless.
But not all of the homeless agree. In fact, some of them said they've never had a problem with officers - they said they've always treated them well and said they appreciate the work the Knoxville Police Department does downtown.
"They've not been rough with me. But I have seen them be rough with other people. But that's if you try to get away from them," said Shelley Frakie, who lives on the streets.
The police report states Mallicoat was yelling obscenities at people living on Grainger Avenue and Luttrell Street, slurring his words, seemed to be under the influence of drugs and refused to follow officers' orders to stop. It also says he kept trying to pull away as he was placed into handcuffs.
For now, the three officers are off the streets and are working in administrative positions.
Officer Jinnett has been with the Knoxville Police Department since 2002, Officer Compton since 2007 and Officer Whitfield since 2009.
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