Police officer recovering after beating; warrants issued for suspects


by Brooke Hasch


Posted on April 30, 2014 at 6:39 PM

Updated Thursday, May 1 at 6:19 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A Kentuckiana police officer is still recovering from injuries he suffered in a brutal beating in March.

Clark County prosecutors have issued warrants for the two suspected men in the case, but say they have yet to come forward.

Keith Hillman has worked for the Heritage Creek Police Department for more than a year, but on the night of March 30, his only job was to pick up dinner. Hillman was sitting in his pick-up truck at Buckhead's, in Jeffersonville, when two men pulled up next to him in a Chevy convertible. A door swung open and hit Hillman's truck. That's when witnesses say he got of the car to confront the men.

"It's not unusual for people to discuss that or be mad about it when it happens, but it's wholly unnecessary for that to escalate where somebody is hospitalized and people are facing prison time," Jeremy Mull, the deputy chief prosecutor for Clark County, said.

Moments later, the two men identified as James Whobrey, from Shepherdsville, and Sebastian Racine, from Louisville, began beating Hillman.

"He was attacked. He was knocked to the ground and punched and kicked by Mr. Racine and Mr. Whobrey," Mull said.

Hillman told the men he was an off-duty officer, but the suspects continued to beat him, as he lay helplessly on the ground. Witnesses say Racine went even further and stomped on Hillman's cell phone, crushing the device. Witnesses tried to help but the suspects ran away.

"The way people are today, you never know what will happen. He just learned the hard way," Heritage Creek Police Chief Almon Perry said.

Perry says Hillman suffered at least one broken bone in his face and a broken leg, which has kept him from coming back to work.

"Quite a bind on us right now," Chief Perry said.

Hillman's absence created a large void with the small police force of just nine officers.

"He was one of my night shift people and that really hurt," Perry said.

His colleagues have picked up the extra shifts. They're expecting Hillman to return sometime in mid-May.

"He wants to come back to work as bad as I want him back," Perry said.

Both Whobrey and Racine face one count of battery, a Class C felony. Racine is also charged with a count of criminal mischief, for smashing Hillman's phone. The two men could serve two to eight years behind bars if convicted.