Reports say the former Kinston police officer who was pepper sprayed and arrested at Walmart on Black Friday has retained an attorney.
Gordon Jackson, charged with disorderly conduct, is retaining the services of Riddle and Brantley, according to the Kinston Free Press. The law firm specializes in personal injury claims.
Some say the move is a sign Jackson plans to file a civil lawsuit.
An off-duty police officer's use of pepper spray in Wal Mart on Black Friday is under investigation, according to Kinston's Director of Public Safety.
YouTube video shows people covering their noses and mouths after the pepper spray was used, while police handcuff 58-year-old Gordon Jackson, a former Kinston police officer. Jackson says he was unfairly arrested because he told an officer the pepper spray shouldn't have been used around so many kids and elderly people.
Public Safety Director Bill Johnson says Wal Mart contracted five officers to work security during Black Friday, and says officer Donterio Hardy used the pepper spray to maintain order around him and may have been the best option. Johnson says, "Look at the other options that are available - you have the baton, which means you have to start physically striking people, you go hands on, again, you have to start physically striking people. And obviously you have your service weapon, but none of those options were viable for the situation at hand."
Johnson says says officer Hardy remains on active duty while the standard use-of-force internal investiation takes place.
Chaos erupted at Walmart in Kinston on Black Friday. An off-duty police officer ended up using pepper spray on a crowd and a former Kinston police officer was arrested.
A video of the incident has been posted on YouTube. You can watch it by clicking here. People are seen covering their noses and mouths, and then you see police officers handcuffing a man who is bent over, then leading him away.
WITN spoke with that man, 58-year-old Gordon Jackson, who is a former Kinston police officer and served 20 years in the army.
Jackson told WITN that all he did was say to an officer they probably shouldn’t have sprayed the pepper spray with so many kids and elderly folks around.
Jackson says that’s when he was asked to leave and when he turned to do so, he says officers threw him on merchandise and cuffed him.
Jackson was charged with disorderly conduct. He says he will fight the charge in court because he didn’t do anything wrong. His court date is set for January 23rd.
According to Kinston police, Walmart hired off duty officers to help with Black Friday security. Police say an officer was trying to quell a disturbance and make an arrest, and he used pepper spray.
Angel Bunting tells WITN she was right there when the pepper spray was used. Bunting says people were standing in line for cell phones marked down from $200 to $35 when a man fell onto the display. She believes it was an accident, but security thought there was a fight. Bunting says 20 people, including children, were affected by the pepper spray.
Jackson says his granddaughter had to receive medical attention because of the pepper spray. There have been several other reports of people going to the hospital because of the pepper spray.