Denton guilty, Twitty not guilty of assault in tasing case

Published 4:30 pm Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Judge Tommy Davis made the decisions Wednesday afternoon in Polk County District Court after hearing from both sides in the cases against the former deputies. The state prosecutor argued that Twitty and Denton displayed outrageous conduct. The defense said they did not use unreasonable force. Charges were filed against Twitty and Denton in March stemming from the incident that occurred in Tryon on October 28 of last year.

The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) launched an inquiry into the incident involving the two former deputies and Allison Howard, who claimed she was excessively tasered.

Howard, a Columbus resident, said she was tasered between 12 and 16 times by&bsp; Twitty and Denton while she was handcuffed and shackled and some of it while she was handcuffed to a chair. The tasing incident occurred&bsp; while Howard was at Elmos Pub & Grill in Tryon. She says she mistakenly thought the woman working behind the bar was an ex-friend who owed her money. She admits she had a couple of drinks and stole the tip jar. Tryon police were called to the bar to investigate and Howard was arrested. The sheriff&squo;s office was later called in after Howard became unruly.

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She acknowledged she accidentally kicked a Tryon officer and broke a window out of Tryon&squo;s police car with the handcuffs while tapping on the window for her friend.

Howard said she was tased twice by Tryon officers, but many more times by Denton and Twitty while she was on the ground. Howard was then taken to the sheriff&squo;s office where she says she was tased again, this time while handcuffed to a chair.

Howard was taken from Polk County to Raleigh to undergo a mental evaluation. She said she spent 23 days in Raleigh and at no time under Polk County&squo;s watch was she given the opportunity for bond.

On Nov. 19, Howard pleaded guilty to assualt on a government official. The charges of larceny and injury to personal property were consolidated into the assault charge and she was sentenced to one year supervised probation, restitution of $208 and court costs. Once the restitution is paid, Howard&squo;s sentence will decrease to unsupervised probation.

Howard says someone anonymously contacted the district attorney&squo;s office about the incident, not her.&bsp; She was not present in court on Wednesday