Deputy arrested at New Year's Eve Party

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- A Newton County Sheriff's Office deputy faces two misdemeanor charges after he allegedly got into an altercation at a New Year's Eve party.

According to NCSO spokesman Lt. Mark Mitchell, Michael Paul Lewis, 29, faces charges of simple battery and violation of the Family Violence Act after deputies were called to a fight at 55 Fleeta Drive in Covington at about 1:45 a.m. Jan. 1.

"When deputies arrived they discovered that the offender in the incident was going to be Newton County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Lewis," Mitchell said. "At the time, statements were collected and there was enough evidence to go forward with charges of simple battery and Family Violence Act."

Mitchell said the victim in the case was a family member of Lewis's, but he declined to give further details about the family member or the nature of the fight. The location of the incident was the home of a family member, Mitchell said.

"There was alcohol involved, but (Lewis) wasn't arrested for any alcohol-related (charge)," Mitchell said. Lewis's blood alcohol level was not tested, he said.

Lewis was taken to the Rockdale County Jail. Lt. Keith Crum said Lewis was scheduled for a first appearance at the Newton County Detention Center Monday, at which time bond would be set.

Mitchell said an internal investigation will be conducted by the Sheriff's Office. Lewis is on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation, he said. Lewis has been with the Sheriff's Office for six years.

Mitchell said Sheriff Ezell Brown had emphasized that the investigation would be handled "like we would any other citizen of Newton County."

Crum said two complaints against Lewis had been investigated by internal affairs in the past six years. Both complaints were lodged in 2009, Crum said. One was deemed to be unsustained after the complainant could not be located; the other was ruled unfounded.

Crum said Lewis had also been commended six times during his tenure with the Sheriff's Office, including one commendation for apprehending a suspect in a burglary in progress; one for intervening in a suicide attempt and making it possible for officers to take the weapon from a woman intent on killing herself; and two other commendations in incidents in which he identified suspects in an attempted rape and a burglary.