The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the charge in a news release last week, noting that the 46-year-old Republican elected official could be incarcerated for up to 10 years if convicted. The grand jury indicted him on Thursday, November 10 at the federal courthouse in Tyler.
“According to the indictment, on July 25, Smith, the Wood County Precinct 2 Constable, directed his police dog to bite a suspect who did not pose a threat that warranted use of the police dog. These actions resulted in unnecessary bodily injury to the suspect,” the DOJ stated.
Cody Skipper, one of Smith’s attorneys, told ABC affiliate KLTV that Smith was trying to subdue an “extremely violent” individual. Skipper contended the complaining witness, Robert Evans, was “not compliant.”
“He did not comply. He affirmatively got himself in a bathroom. He broke Kelly’s finger, injured his knee,” Skipper told KLTV. “And he is now the prime witness for the federal government after receiving a whopping three stitches in his foot.”
Skipper also previewed some of what he believes the evidence at trial will show.
“When you have a barricaded suspect on video poke his head out of the trailer home and shut the door on the police, barricades with a mattress inside the bathroom after he already has a warrant out for running from the police on the previous incident where he choked son and beat his wife, there’s a problem,” he said.
Another member of Smith’s defense team, Toby Shook, was a high-profile prosecutor in North Texas and the Republican nominee for Dallas County district attorney in 2006.
The federal government has the burden of proof in the case against Smith, and they face a formidable opponent in Shook. Shook was one of the prosecutors who secured death sentences against six members of the Texas Seven — a group of prisoners who escaped and murdered an Irving police officer, Aubrey Wright Hawkins, during an armed robbery in 2000.
The State of Texas executed four members of the Texas Seven in Huntsville; two are still on death row. The seventh member committed suicide before he could be arrested.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."