Family says suspended EPD officer inappropriately tou - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Family says suspended EPD officer inappropriately touched boy

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The boy's grandmother, Cheryl Snoke. The boy's grandmother, Cheryl Snoke.

A Tri-State grandmother wants to set the record straight about why a veteran police officer is up for dismissal from the Evansville Police Department.

Corporal Mike Winters is appealing the disciplinary action taken after the alleged incident with a student on May 17.

Up until now, all police have told 14 News is that Officer Winters was working off-duty at a school and is being investigated for battery of a student.  

Right now, he's suspended from the force pending a hearing in July. But on Monday, the student's family tells 14 News that they're appalled the officer is appealing after what they say he did to the young man.

"Now that he's fighting that with a lawyer, I want him fired," Cheryl Snoke says.

Snoke says what Corporal Winters, a 30 year veteran of the police force, is accused of doing to her grandson back in May should be grounds for immediate dismissal.

"You can't go around touching a child in a private area," Snoke says.

Snoke says the incident happened inside EVSC's Academy for Innovative Studies on First Avenue. She says her 16-year-old grandson, and five other boys, were inside a classroom chatting with Officer Winters about how to get out of a fight, when she says Winters reached down and grabbed her grandson's testicles.

"...and squeezed them and says to him, 'Now, how will you get out of this?'" Snoke says.

She says her grandson was shocked, jumped up, and as a reaction, called the officer a name.

"The police officer then responded to my grandson, 'That you say that again, I'm going to take you to jail,'" Snoke tells 14 News.

Embarrassed and not really knowing what to do, Snoke says her grandson went to the principal's office.

"The principal is a lady, so it was very hard for him to think of what to say to her," Snoke says. "She didn't know how to answer him. She kind of laughed it off, so my grandson just let it go and left the office."

But Snoke says the principal did investigate and Snoke says, "Immediately got a hold of the Evansville Police Department, immediately had this police officer fired from the Evansville School District."

Snoke says all of the students in the class at the time, including the teacher, signed affidavit's that the incident did happen.

"We don't believe that he had any real harm intent, but yet again, our child are taught no one is to touch you in a private place," Snoke tells 14 News. "I mean, if a teacher had done that, the teacher would have been fired immediately. Just because he's a police officer doesn't mean there should be any difference."

An appeals hearing for Officer Winters has been set for July 15.

We contacted the EVSC Monday night for a comment, but our call was not returned.  

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