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Kinston mayor says SBI & D.A. briefed on investigation into controversial arrest

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 10:38 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 16, 2021 at 1:55 PM EDT
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KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) - Kinston’s mayor says that the district attorney and the State Bureau of Investigation have been briefed on the investigation of an arrest that went viral earlier this week.

A video that circulated on social media showed two police officers arresting David Bruton.

In the footage, an officer can be seen punching Bruton several times.

In a video update, Kinston Mayor Don Hardy on Friday said that on Wednesday Police Chief Tim Dilday and Major Jenee Spencer met with Lenoir County District Attorney Matthew Delbridge and SBI Special Agent-in-charge Reid Sasser.

Hardy said that all of the information available at that point was presented.

The SBI says while they were briefed on the investigation, Delbridge did not make a request for them to investigate. Dilday said the probe into Bruton’s arrest remains an internal investigation by Kinston police.

The mayor said that the investigation is ongoing and that efforts continue to locate more surveillance footage.

APRIL 13TH UPDATE

Kinston city leaders updated the media tonight on a controversial arrest that happened just 24 hours earlier.

Two police officers have been placed on administrative leave after the video of David Bruton’s arrest went viral.

Bruton was charged with disorderly conduct, assault on a law enforcement officer, and communicating threats after police responded to a panic alarm at Little Caesars on West Vernon Avenue Monday evening.

Video captured by a driver shows Bruton fall to the ground before an officer appears to punch him several times while he’s down. The NAACP met with police shortly after the video was posted online.

Mayor Pro Tem Felicia Solomon told WITN this afternoon that the officers involved are now on administrative leave while the police department investigates what happened.

Mayor Don Hardy told our Nikki Hauser that Bruton’s family confirmed that he suffers from a medical condition.

Hardy joined other city leaders Tuesday at a 6:00 p.m. city hall news conference by City Manager Tony Sears and Police Chief Tim Dilday.

WITN obtained the police incident report on the 36-year-old man’s arrest.

It said officers were called around 6:40 p.m. Monday to the Little Caesars.

In the report, an employee told police that Bruton threatened her, saying he was going to slap her.

According to the report, officers checked the area, and when Bruton saw them, he began to run away.

Bruton stopped running and took an aggressive fighting stance with officers then ran away again, the report said.

Police said in the report that Bruton tripped and fell down, “at which point Mr. Bruton kicked Officer Page in the stomach.”

The report says Bruton was taken into custody and brought to the police department for processing.

There is no mention of the actions officers took to arrest Bruton.

David Bruton
David Bruton(Lenoir County Detention Center)

He was given a $500 secured bond and has since been released from custody.

In police radio recording obtained by WITN, officers said that Bruton had cuts to his hands and possibly his face. EMS was also requested to meet officers at the police department.

Police said city staff met with Bruton’s immediate family members Tuesday morning, and add that both the city and his family are committed to a thorough review of what happened. City Manager Tony Sears said part of that investigation involves determining if use of force was reasonable.

TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE

The woman who shot the video of Kinston police beating a man says she saw officers tase him moments before the attack.

The woman says she saw the man dancing in the middle of the road on West Vernon Avenue Monday evening when officers told him to get out of the street. She says the man wasn’t complying, so they tased him before taking him down.

A woman told WITN that she recorded this on her cell phone Monday evening.
A woman told WITN that she recorded this on her cell phone Monday evening.(Submitted video)

In a statement released Monday night, Kinston police said they are aware of the video and that they are investigating what happened.

Mayor Don Hardy said police met with the NAACP to discuss what was seen In the video.

“You know I’m livid. I’m beyond disappointed with what I’ve seen. I’m awaiting answers now,” said council member Krystal Suggs.

WITN asked police for a copy of the incident report, which is a public document under state law. We were told it was not finished yet.

MONDAY STORY

A group gathered Monday evening outside Kinston City Hall to find out what happened to a man seen in a video on social media being beaten in Kinston.

The video involved Kinston police officers but there are few details coming from the police department. Kinston Police released a statement late Monday evening.

“The Kinston Police Department is aware of a partial video from this evening involving officers while responding to a call for service located at 111 W. Vernon Avenue. We are currently investigating the incident that occurred in the video. The Kinston Police Department is conducting a thorough review of all evidence related to this incident.”

Mayor Don Hardy has seen the video in question, as well as City Council Member Krystal Suggs.

The Mayor said Kinston Police met with NAACP members Monday night to discuss the actions seen in the video.

After seeing the video, Councilwoman Suggs said, “You know I’m livid. I’m beyond disappointed with what I’ve seen. I’m awaiting answers now.”

Suggs and many community members are awaiting answers and a review of the video in question.

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