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n Left Blind - Greenville News Story - WYFF Greenville
The Hartwell Sun Online
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2/19/09

HARTWELL, Ga. -- The daughter of a 51-year-old man says his eye was surgically removed Wednesday due to injuries caused by the excessive force used by a police officer -- and she says he is now at least partially blind in his other eye.

Hartwell police officer Bobby C. Mitchell said that he approached Jimmy Blackwell on Savannah Street on Monday morning after he observed suspicious behavior. Mitchell said after he asked Blackwell for identification, Blackwell fought with him.

Blackwell and the 26-year-old officer were injured during the fight. Mitchell was treated and released. He is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Blackwell remains hospitalized with serious injuries.

On Wednesday, Blackwell's daughter, Keesha Blackwell Oglesby, talked to WYFF News 4's Kisha Foster.

She said, "It's been very hard. I just looked at him. I was like, 'My God he's just laying there. He's going to die.'"

Oglesby said her father's eye was too damaged to save.

"The doctor was going to try and put it back in attach it back. It was so badly done he couldn't do it. He called in someone else to remove it."

She said her father doesn't know yet that he has lost his sight.

"Right now he just knows he has cups over his eyes," she said. "It's going to be very hard on a person to know you can't see. Very emotional."

Oglesby said she thinks Police Chief Cecil Reno sympathizes with them about what happened.

She said, "I haven't been speaking on anything that happened at the scene. My main concern is I know my father was brutally beaten and his eye was literally out of his socket."

Reno said he cannot comment on the case because of the ongoing investigation. He requested that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation look into the allegations.

The GBI said that Blackwell is charged with felony obstruction and terrorist threats.

The district attorney will decide whether the use of force was excessive, but said he hasn’t received the case yet and won’t until the Georgia investigation is complete.

At 6 p.m. Friday, a community meeting will be held at Flat Rock CME Church in Hartwell to discuss the incident and any other concerns the community may have with the police department.

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