Juvenile Court officer accused of assaulting 17-year-old detainee

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. -- A Shelby County Juvenile Court officer is off the job and facing charges for beating up a detainee.

Investigators said Emanuel Hassell repeatedly punched the teen so badly the teen had a busted lip and a gash under his eye.

Deputies said the detainee was on the second floor in the courthouse and dropped a pair of shoes on Hassell a couple of weeks ago.

The affidavit states Hassell then started punching the teen in his head and body with a closed fist and took him to the ground.

The victim told deputies Hassell was "punching him and choking him while he was on the ground."

Hassell was arrested Monday on two counts of assault.

Many think Hassell was in the wrong.

"There's definitely a back story for the child to have done what he did. The adult should have had more restraint than beat a child up," Glenda Perkins said.

"To use any force on anyone who has been detained is absolutely wrong ," Memphis parent Kathleen Kruczek said.

Judge Dan Michael told WREG once he saw the surveillance video, he suspended the officer and called DCS, deputies, the victim's parents, and the victim's attorney.

Hassell has since quit his job.

WREG tried to get Hassell's side of the story, but no one answered when we went to his home Tuesday.

This incident comes at a time when juvenile court is under a microscope by the feds for not treating African-American detainees fairly.

Whether or not that was the case, parents don't think this incident helps its image.

"I don't think it was justified since there's already so much crime and violence in the community already," Memphis resident Ronisha Guy said.

"No, no. I mean it is a child. When you sign on to that job, you know what you are dealing with. You are dealing with children who have problems," Perkins said.

WREG put in a request with the Juvenile Court Clerk to see Hassell's personnel files, but have yet to hear back.

Hassell has bonded out and is due in court March 25.

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