Panhandler wants justice: says Albany police officer stole his m - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Panhandler wants justice: says Albany police officer stole his money

James Whaley demonstrates where he says the officer frisked him and stole his money (Source: WALB) James Whaley demonstrates where he says the officer frisked him and stole his money (Source: WALB)
Wal-Mart on Ledo Road in Lee County (Source: WALB) Wal-Mart on Ledo Road in Lee County (Source: WALB)
The three way intersection between Wal-Mart and Chili's off Ledo Road where Whaley said he would panhandle (Source: WALB) The three way intersection between Wal-Mart and Chili's off Ledo Road where Whaley said he would panhandle (Source: WALB)
Chevene King, Whaley's attorney (Source: WALB) Chevene King, Whaley's attorney (Source: WALB)
LEE CO., GA (WALB) -

A Lee County panhandler is speaking out after he says an off-duty Albany police officer frisked him and then stole his money.

Lewis Harris, Lee County Sheriff Chief Deputy, tells WALB a warrant application hearing for this incident is being scheduled in the Lee County court.

Both the officer and panhandler's lawyers will testify before a judge to let the judge decide if charges will be filed.

"It said 'Needy family, Merry Christmas' that's exactly what it said. No more," said James Whaley, 43, a local panhandler.

Whaley said he was holding a sign last Sunday in the Wal-Mart Parking lot off Ledo Road. 

He said he was asking people for money, in addition to what he makes at his job.

That's when Whaley said an off-duty Albany Police Officer approached him.

"I just decided to ask him are you a police officer. He said, 'yes I'm a police officer.' 'Are you on duty?' He said 'yes, 24 hours a day,'" said Whaley.

Whaley said the officer ordered him to leave, and when Whaley didn't, he said the officer returned half an hour later, frisked him and then stole the money he'd been panhandling.

"He told me to stand up against this pole here. So I did. He started kicking my feet apart and I came un-level in my footing and he pushed me hard and I sprained my finger here," said Whaley.

Now Whaley said what he was doing was neither illegal nor wrong. His attorney said he agrees.

"Certainly Mr. Whaley had not been arrested and had it been against the law, I'm certain that he would have been arrested," said Chevene King. 

After panhandling three times outside the Walmart, Whaley said he won't be back anymore. 

"I hope that no one else has to go through this with this hate this man had in his heart that day coming down here," said Whaley, "We need justice in a case like this."

Now the Albany Police Department says they have not heard of any updates in this investigation.

And Chief Deputy Harris says they do not know the court date for when the warrant hearing will go before a judge.

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