Deputy on desk duty as sheriff investigates brutality claims

PITT COUNTY, NC (WITN) - A Pitt County deputy was placed on desk today today while allegations of excessive force are investigated.

The mother of Willie Pollard, Jr. says her son was brutalized during a traffic stop in front of their Thomas Street home on March 4th.

"I saw a police officer outside and all I heard my son say is what did I do, what did I do," said Cassandra Pittman.

The woman says Pollard was driving her van off Old River Road when Deputy Darren Hignite turned on his blue lights and siren. Pollard didn't immediately stop from the deputy.

"I did hear the officer say, "Well, you didn't stop," He said why you didn't stop? He said for the simple fact is I'm a black man and I'm not stopping in a dark area for ya." Pittman said.

Instead, Pollard drove to his home which was a short distance away.

The Pitt County Sheriff's Office says Pollard, who has a prior criminal record, was being stopped for an equipment violation. But warrants say he had an open container and driving with a revoked license.

Pittman says things escalated with her son being handcuffed on the ground and a K-9 being released to attack him.

"To actually watch your son being torn apart by a dog and police officer and you can't do anything about it and you have to accept it? No," Pittman told us.

The sheriff's office wouldn't talk to WITN about the case.

Arrest warrants say the deputy claimed Pollard assaulted him during the arrest, and pulled away, hitting Hignite in the face, causing bruising. The man is also accused of punching Hignite's K-9 several times and tried to run.

The mother has filed a complaint with the sheriff's office, while the local NAACP branch is looking into the brutality claims as well.