CHARLOTTE — A former Hickory police officer is facing federal charges in relation to a November 2013 episode where he is accused of slamming a woman to the ground and covering up his behavior by filing a false report.
Robert Michael George, 45, was charged Monday with using excessive force and obstructing justice by a federal grand jury, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.
The charges stem from a Nov. 11, 2013, incident in Hickory. Chelsea Doolittle said that George slammed her on the ground as he arrested her, according to Record reporting in 2014.
The federal indictment also said that George falsified a police report about the incident, according to the release.
Hickory Police helped the FBI with the arrest Monday. City police officials offered no comment on the charges.
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George was fired from the Hickory Police Department in January 2014. He was later charged with felony assault inflicting serious bodily injury and misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury in Catawba County.
His last court session was in August 2015, according to a case summary document.
District Attorney David Learner addressed the local case in a press release shortly before 5 p.m. Monday.
"The Catawba County charges were never tried because every time the State calendared the case for trial, Mr. George’s lawyer, Lisa Dubs, requested continuances that various judges allowed even though the State was prepared and ready to try the case," the release from Learner's office states. "Prosecutors from the Catawba County DA’s Office worked with Federal prosecutors to have the cases addressed at a Federal level. If convicted, George faces substantially more punishment in the Federal court system than he would had he been convicted in State court."
Dubs countered Learner's version. "That's absolutely not true," she said in reference to the continuances noted in Learner's release. "Almost all of the continuances have been by agreement with the district attorney's office. I am not aware of any time that the district attorney has been ready to try the case."
The release from Learner's office notes when federal charges were brought on the same incident, the state charges were dismissed in deference to the federal prosecution.
Doolittle underwent a number of operations to repair the damage to her face and teeth, according to a Record article from 2014.
Doolittle filed a civil suit against the city and the officers involved in August 2016.