A North Carolina driver doesn’t believe police had any reason to put a police K9 through his car window and onto his lap following a police chase.
Dash cam from the Wilmington Police cruiser captured the entire ordeal on camera: police use a ‘pit maneuver’ to stop Johnnie Williams. In the video, you can see Williams put his hands in the air to surrender. That’s when officer Stafford Brister lifts a police K9 into the car.
The grand jury was convened to determine if the officer did anything wrong. After watching the video several times, the 15 men and women determined the officer was not out of line in his actions and he was cleared of criminal charges.
District Attorney Ben David said he wanted the grand jury to decide if the officer should be charged with assault inflicting serious injury.
“I believed it was a close enough legal question that the community should decide whether the use of force was reasonable, and I would not rule as a matter of law that it was,” David said.
David says Williams tried to run over three officers during the chase and on Monday the grand jury indicted him on charges of being a habitual felon, assault with a deadly weapon, and other traffic violations.
Williams admits to making mistakes but say he didn’t deserve to have the dog unleashed on him.
“I didn’t have the opportunity to raise my hand all the way until the dog got into the car and bite me. It held on to me,” he said. “It was at least about 30 or 40 seconds before the guy came and got him off my shoulder.”
Though the officer has been cleared of criminal charges, Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous says an internal investigation is still underway.
“Sometimes the job we do is not very pretty. It’s just a fact,” Chief Envagelous said. “There are sometimes bad guys out there who are violent. The K9 incident is still pending, and administratively, there is an administrative investigation going on as we speak.”
The criminal case, however, will remain closed.