Decatur police officer accused of slapping East Lawrence High School student

WAAY 31 learned the incident happened in April of 2018.

Posted: Aug. 22, 2018 6:19 PM
Updated: Aug. 22, 2018 7:31 PM

WAAY 31 spent the day digging for new details about the arrest of Decatur Police Lieutenant Archie Letson. We learned Letson worked as a volunteer football coach at East Lawrence High School for at least two years.

The Lawrence County Sheriff told us officers arrested him for assaulting a player on the team. Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell told me the accusations include Letson slapping a teenager twice in the school’s weight room during a spring football practice. Mitchell told us the teen's grandmother pushed for charges to be filed.

Archie Letson is out of jail on a $1,500. He’s charged with assaulting a minor. Court documents obtained by WAAY 31 say he slapped the victim twice in the face, grabbed him by the hair, and threw him to the ground.

According to the documents, the teen suffered a nose bleed and busted lip and the teen claims Letson also gouged at his eye. In the filed by the teen’s grandmother, she said the attack ended with Letson saying quote, ”You’d better not ever slap me again.”

WAAY 31 tried to get Letson’s side of the story to learn if the teen hit him, but nobody with the officer’s family wanted to talk about it. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t find one person in town who wanted to talk about the case. Everyone told me they’re uncomfortable because they know Officer Letson or his wife.

The Lawrence County School's Superintendent told me Letson qualified to be a volunteer coach at the school because he was also a substitute teacher with the district. However, after the district was made aware of accusations he slapped a football player twice he was taken off the substitute teacher list which disqualified him from being a coach.

WAAY 31 requested Letson's Personnel File and Human Resource Report from Decatur Police. We haven’t received it yet, but we did learn Letson is currently on desk duty. According to the department, Letson hasn't worn a uniform or patrolled the streets of Decatur since April.

We learned from the City of Decatur that Letson was promoted to Lieutenant in the spring of this year. We are still waiting to learn if his promotion came before or after the alleged incident at East Lawrence High School.

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