Tribune-Courier General Manager
The former manager of the Benton city swimming pool will get his day in court Thursday.
A Marshall County District Court jury will decide whether Chris Harvey, 43, of Benton is guilty of assault for slapping his son while on duty at the pool July 12, 2012.a
Harvey has also filed a civil case in federal court alleging his constitutional rights were violated by Benton Police Officer Darryl Carr at the time of his arrest.
Harvey’s son had spilled a soft drink and refused to clean it up after being directed to do so by his father. The two then engaged in a heated debate which escalated to Harvey slapping his son, a minor, in the face.
Harvey was arrested and charged with fourth degree assault. He was subsequently terminated as Benton City Pool manager, a job he had held for 15 years.
Harvey, who is also a teacher at Benton Middle School, was removed from the classroom and reassigned to the central office pending the outcome of the trial.
Both a special prosecutor and special judge in district court have been appointed to the case. Brandon Knoth of Lyon County will serve as prosecutor, and Calloway District Judge Randall Hutchens will hear the case due to Harvey’s profile in the community.
Jeremy Ian Smith, Harvey’s attorney, said he expects the jury to hear the facts of the case and find his client not guilty.
“He did not commit a crime,” Smith said. “The state has a very specific statute that allows parents to use force when it is in the best interest of the welfare of children. The facts show this is a justifiable action.”
According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court July 11 by Eddie Box, Harvey’s attorney in the civil case, “Carr knew that every person has the constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and seizures, and that his arrest of Harvey under the circumstances as they existed on July 12, 2012, violated Harvey’s constitutional rights because it has been clearly established that a reasonable officer would not arrest a parent from using force against his child which did not rise to the level of causing a substantial risk of death, serious injury, disfigurement, extreme pain, or extreme mental distress.”
The complaint states Harvey has suffered “mental anguish, embarrassment and humiliation” as a result of the arrest.
He is seeking damages for emotional distress and harm, lost wages, damages to his reputation as a teacher and attorney and witness fees.
The complaint also alleges Carr committed battery when he subjected Harvey to an “unwanted physical assault by being handcuffed, restrained, detained and incarcerated.”
In a letter to the Tribune-Courier earlier this year, Harvey wrote, “Just know that I did what I thought was right and what many citizens of Benton have personally told me that they would have done if faced with a similar situation. Raising kids is difficult. It is a job I take seriously. It upsets me greatly for people to think I would assault any child, much less my own.”