Officer in St. Patrick's Day video had sexual harassment case - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Officer in St. Patrick's Day video had sexual harassment reprimand

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Complaints and threats to sue are piling up against a handful of Savannah Chatham Metro Police officers in the two months since police Chief Willie Lovett retired in the face of complaints against him.

Now named in a human resources complaint, Cpl. Aaron McKie, who first made news during St. Patrick's Day weekend 2011, when he broke up a fight and arrested three people in the middle of Broughton Street.

A video of that arrest, claiming police brutality, went viral. It shows McKie using pepper spray and a baton to make two arrests.

One of the arrestees, Benjamin Mahaffey,  filed a complaint with police that sparked an internal affairs investigation. McKie was put on desk duty at headquarters.

One of the women he supervised there, Taliba Onyebuchi, sent a letter to the city of Savannah last week, saying she was sexually harassed by McKie and intends to sue.

It isn't the first time McKie has faced such a complaint. McKie worked at the Waynesboro Police Department before joining Savannah Police. There, in 1997, he received an oral reprimand for sexual harassment, according to his personnel file.

More recently, metro internal affairs records show a 355-page investigation into the St. Patrick's Day incident.

In a transcribed interview, McKie admits to the charge against him – excessive force.

"I admit, you know, yes, I went a little bit over. I was excessive, yes," he said, according to the transcript.

An internal affairs review board recommended McKie receive a 10-day unpaid suspension for the use of force. But the city says Willie Lovett, then police chief, vetoed the recommendation and reduced the punishment to five days.

Copyright 2013 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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