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NC officer won't face excessive force charges for forcing police dog onto suspect

"I believed it was a close enough legal question that the community should decide whether the use of force was reasonable and I would not rule as a matter of law that it was," district attorney says.
By Evan Bleier Follow @itishowitis Contact the Author   |   Dec. 10, 2013 at 11:12 AM
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Dec. 10 (UPI) -- A Wilmington, N.C., police officer will not face excessive force charges after dash camera video showing him forcing his police dog into a driver's lap during a DWI stop was reviewed by a grand jury on Monday.

WPD K-9 officer Stafford Brister was involved in an October incident where DWI suspect Johnnie Williams drove through a police checkpoint and nearly hit two officers.

After a car chase, Williams was stopped and Brister unleashed his dog on the driver. An injury report following the incident noted that Williams had lacerations to his face. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a government official, traffic violations and being an habitual felon.

District Attorney Ben David put the case in front of a grand jury made up of 15 people on Monday to determine if Brister should be charged with assault inflicting serious injury.

"I believed it was a close enough legal question that the community should decide whether the use of force was reasonable and I would not rule as a matter of law that it was," David said.

The jury decided Brister should not face criminal charges, but he is still on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

"Sometimes the job we do is not pretty,” said Chief Ralph Evangelous.


[WECT]

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