Police Officer’s Lie Kept Innocent Georgia Teen Behind Bars
A Georgia teen spent two years at a detention center in Dekalb County after a police officer lied on the witness stand.
“It was horrible,” Antwan Wheeler told investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer, “Feeling helpless like there wasn’t anybody there to help me, like everybody was against me.”
Wheeler admits that he has not always been the most innocent child as his juvenile record lists several arrests with charges that were later dropped. But on the day of the incident that put him behind bars, he was innocent and a victim of the justice system.
On Dec. 23, 2010 Wheeler and his friend, who were suspected of stealing a Dodge Stratus, were walking along a road when he says Officer Q. Dejuan Hudson and others stopped them, handcuffed them and began beating them.
“While I was handcuffed one of the officers hit me in my stomach. When I bent down one of them hit me in my face,” Wheeler recounted.
After arresting Wheeler, Officer Hudson testified in court as the only eye witness for the case.
“I observed a grayish vehicle it was occupied by Mr. Antwan Wheeler,” Hudson testified. “At the time he was in the driver’s seat.”
The judge convicted Wheeler and sent him to the Eastman Youth Detention Center.
During further investigation of the teen’s beating claims, it was revealed that the officer lied in his police report and on the witness stand.
The rookie officer abruptly resigned following an internal affairs interview questioning his honesty. He blamed his commanding officer, saying he told him to lie.
Wheeler has filed a lawsuit against Hudson and DeKalb County, and is trying to get a new trial. To date, the auto theft conviction is still on his record.
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