Mom speaks after no charges filed against deputy accused of excessive force on her son

Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 9:04 PM EDT
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PLYMOUTH, N.C. (WITN) - A mother of a man seen on video in March being dragged into an Eastern Carolina sheriff’s office by a deputy spoke up Tuesday after the Washington County district attorney said no criminal charges will be filed against the law enforcement officer involved.

Washington County Deputy Aaron Edwards was let go shortly after the violent arrest of Gary Thomas for possession of marijuana.

In a cell phone video taken at the time of his arrest, Edwards can be seen putting his knee on Thomas’ neck and dragging him into the county courthouse.

District Attorney Seth Edwards, who is not related to the former deputy, announced on Friday that no criminal charges would be brought against the former deputy.

Thomas’ mom says while she believes not pressing criminal charges was the wrong decision, the Thomas family is more concerned that they were not told about the decision from the district attorney or the sheriff’s office.

“Nobody told us, gave us a phone call or a letter in the mail. It’s just like they didn’t care,” Francis Gilliam said. “And I’m just going to put it out there like it is and I just felt like somebody should’ve let the family know first before the media gets it.”

Although the district attorney declined an interview with WITN, the Thomas family believes the decision to not press criminal charges reflects a lack of care from elected officials in the county.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office declined an interview with WITN as well.

Shortly after Deputy Edwards was let go, the district attorney dismissed the criminal charges against Thomas, as well as his aunt, who tried to intervene during Thomas’ arrest, saying it was in the interest of justice.

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