A personal recount by Brice Bradshaw of the not-too friendly nor professional treatment he received by individuals employed at the Wilmington, NC police department. He’s looking for input on how to proceed. -Pete
I got off work between 11 & 12 pm & was on my way home on St Patrick’s Day. I live downtown so I was taking MLK & there was a check point to catch drunk drivers. I was 100% sober. I was told to step out of my car. It was then searched but nothing illegal was found. One officer stated “you are about 3 seconds from going to jail right now” because when he went to look me up based on name, address, & DOB he couldn’t find my info. I was so confused. I said “on what charges?” He then stated that he didn’t need a reason & that not being able to find me when he searched was reason enough. He then said again that I was going to be arrested, to which I stated “I don’t think you have anything to charge me with..(?)” He then shoved me against my own car then body slammed me to the ground, followed by five officers jumping on my back & bruising my ribs.
All of this because, according to the officer, I “took a step back” while he was speaking to me. Apparently asking on what grounds I was being arrested provided him with enough to justify bruising my ribs and essentially abusing me with the help of the other officers, during which I was screaming out “Is this really happening right now!?! I’ve done nothing wrong!” It was terrifying. I never once tried to get away or struggled. I did not resist arrest, and the closest thing I did that would resemble resisting arrest was when I asked what charges I was being taken in on (which is what set him off, I guess because I was questioning his authority). But don’t we have the right in this country to be informed of the charges against us?
The icing on the cake in this story? An officer that participated in holding me down (*one of the five…I’m 140 lbs and wasn’t struggling…excessive force, anyone?) apparently dropped his phone during my take-down. He was sure to let the arresting officer know not to let me off the hook for the scratch on the screen of his Droid 4, and so I was also charged with Property Damage in Excess of $200. I never touched this man’s phone OR even saw it until he was flashing it in the police car, making sure Officer Riley knew what model it was and the I should be charged for it’s damage. Anyone who’s counting, that’s the second fabricated charge for this team of officers in one arrest on one evening. Scary, right?
The U.S. Department of Justice website states that a Bureau of Justice Statistics report “estimated that less than half of 1 percent of an estimated 44 million people who had face-to-face contact with a police officer were threatened with or actually experienced force” (BJS, 1999). If those national numbers are comparable to Wilmington, NC statistics then you would think that this would be so rare an occurrence that The Wilmington Police Department would be taking a serious look at the events of this evening to try to come up with some answers. Knowing that I DID NOT physically aggress towards this officer, I can only assume that when police video of the event is recovered and reviewed the appropriate action with follow. A 5-to-1 body slam take down of a Wilmington resident who maintains that prior to the assault I didn’t so much as raise my voice? Is that acceptable WPD behavior? I didn’t think so…?
If anyone out there knows how I can bring attention to this matter in an effective way, PLEASE, your suggestions would be greatly appreciated.