EAST PRAIRIE, MO (KFVS) - State police are investigating an assault case in East Prairie, Missouri involving the city's police chief.
It happened in late January.
Terry Duty, 41, was charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action. He bonded out on Jan. 31.
He's accused of hitting a man in the face who had just been handcuffed by East Prairie Police Chief Mark Higgins. The victim, August Porter, does not face charges in connection with the case.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol investigation comes at the request of the Mississippi County Prosecuting Attorney.
According to court documents, on January 29 August Porter reported to members of the Missouri State Highway Patrol he was assaulted by East Prairie Police Chief Mark Higgins and Terry D. Duty of East Prairie. He said it happened after Duty accused him of stealing items from Duty's wife's vehicle.
Porter told investigators he was first approached by Duty and asked to be seated in his vehicle. Porter claimed Duty drove them to a construction company on East Washington in East Prairie where Duty parked the vehicle in the parking lot.
According to court documents, Duty then accused Porter of stealing items from his wife's vehicle. He allegedly told Porter he would not involve the police if Porter would admit to taking the items and return them.
Porter said he denied taking the items from the vehicle and continued to deny taking the items throughout the incident.
According to court documents, Chief Higgins later arrived at the business. Duty allegedly got out of the vehicle and went into the business. When Duty got out of the vehicle, Chief Higgins allegedly had Porter also get out and Higgins handcuffed Porter.
Court documents state Duty left the business and told Chief Higgins to bring Porter into the business to watch a video, which Duty allegedly believed to prove Porter was responsible for stealing the items from his wife's vehicle.
According to Porter and a witness, while inside the business, Duty told Higgins to take the handcuffs off of Porter.
When Higgins did not remove the handcuffs, Duty allegedly said, "if you don't take them off, I will."
At this time, Duty went back to his truck where he allegedly took out a hatchet-like tool and hit Porter in the face with it.
According to court documents, surveillance video from the business clearly shows Duty hitting Porter in the face with the tool.
Investigators say that in an interview on January 30, Duty admitted he hit Porter after Porter threatened his family.
Duty was arrested and taken to the Mississippi County Jail.
We talked to Chief Higgins on the phone on Tuesday, Feb. 13. He said he's aware of the investigation. He said he continues to serve the people of East Prairie and will let the state investigators do their job.