Lenoir County NAACP wants outside investigation of Kinston officers

Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 10:14 PM EDT
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KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) - The NAACP in Lenoir County says the police should not be the ones investigating their own officers in a controversial arrest caught on cellphone video this week.

That reaction comes after Kinston Mayor Don Hardy said Friday that the district attorney and the State Bureau of Investigation have been briefed on the investigation into the arrest of David Bruton, but the D.A. did not make a request for the SBI to investigate.

Kinston Police Chief Tim Dilday said the probe into Bruton’s arrest remains an internal investigation by Kinston police.

Police were called after a customer says Bruton threatened her. As police interview Bruton, he took off running. Police say he stopped running and took an aggressive fighting stance with officers before running away again. Video captured by a driver shows Bruton fall to the ground after the pursuit, and an officer punching him several times.

Both the NAACP President, Barbara Sutto, and Mayor Pro-Tem Felicia Solomon said once they saw the video that circulated on social media, they were outraged and disturbed saying an outside agency should investigate this situation.

Mayor Pro-Tem, Felicia Solomon says she wants accountability. She says this is an issue of trust and the community feels that there’s been a violation of that considering that law enforcement is called to serve and protect.

Solomon says the question is, for everyone who has seen the video, is that what you want policing to look like and was it excessive?

Sutton thinks it was. “We know something may have happened before then but what people are looking at. This right here. More than one time. And unless someone can show us what we saw is not what we saw that’s excessive force,” Sutton said.

Mayor Pro-Tem Solomon wants the community to know, she hears your concerns about this investigation.

“For you as true community to regain the trust of law enforcement and for us to begin to have the conversation of policing in our community and what we want it to look like. You have a voice, it matters and this is not okay and it’s not acceptable,” Solomon said.

Solomon says there’s a failure in police training and she says at the end of the day, the community deserves answers, and Bruton and the officers involved deserve a fair and thorough investigation.

Solomon and Mayor Hardy both urge the public to come forward if they saw or heard anything or have any additional footage that may help the investigation.

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