Washington County deputy seen in arrest video fired; SBI now investigating

Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 1:12 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 11, 2022 at 1:47 PM EST
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WASHINGTON COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - A deputy sheriff involved in a case of possible excessive force has been fired by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the SBI is now looking into the arrest.

County Manager Curtis Potter confirmed to WITN that Deputy Aaron Edwards was no longer employed as of Tuesday.

Last week, WITN reported that the family of Gary Thomas provided us with video of his arrest for marijuana possession by Washington County deputies outside the courthouse.

Family members say Thomas’ arrest quickly became violent with one deputy putting a knee on the man’s neck. In the cell phone video, Edwards can be seen dragging Thomas into the building. The aunt of Thomas was arrested when she tried to intervene.

Deputy Aaron Edwards
Deputy Aaron Edwards(Viewer photo)

In a Facebook post, Sheriff Johnny Barnes said as a result of their internal investigation, “and after reviewing all body camera and security footage” along with speaking to those involved, the deputy was fired.

Barnes said the SBI has been called in to look into whether criminal charges should be brought in the case and that those results would be turned over to District Attorney Seth Edwards.

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