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Teen who accused police officer of assault must now perform community service

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Posted at 1:00 PM, Jan 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-15 13:37:43-05

PETERSBURG, Va. -- "I ain't happy about it," 19-year-old Devin Thomas said Thursday outside court. Thomas made the comment after a judge in Petersburg found him guilty of disorderly conduct and preventing an officer from making an arrest.

Following the June 2014 incident, which included video taken with a cell phone, Thomas accused Petersburg Police of assaulting him for no reason.

"I feel like I'm innocent," Thomas said.

Devin Thomas

"I feel like I'm innocent," Devin Thomas said.

The situation occurred after police responded to the Petersburg East apartments for an issue unrelated to Thomas.  In court, police officers testified Thomas began to curse at them. That, police said, fueled an already angry crowd. Police also said Thomas refused to leave the complex.

Thomas broke away from officers when they tried to handcuff him, officers added.

Thomas' lawyer argued cursing at police did not constitute disorderly conduct. The judge, however, disagreed and even read the definition of disorderly conduct aloud in court.

Disorderly

After he found Thomas guilty, the judge sentenced the teen to 18 months in jail, but suspended the sentence for three years. He ordered Thomas to perform 80 hours community service by April 16, 2015. If he fails to perform his mandatory hours, he would have to go before a Petersburg judge again.

The Deputy Commonwealth Attorney from Colonial Heights Gray Collins, refused many of the questions asked following court, because of a possible appeal.

"He deserves a fair trial just like any other defendant, so does Ofc. Richard who's not on trial," Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Gray Collins said. "Police deserve a fair chance to present their case in court."

In court, the judge told Thomas he was "walking a tight rope" as this was not his first time in court. The judge warned Thomas if he does anything else to get in trouble with the law, Thomas would "probably be going to jail."