Arrest caught on camera creates tension in Roanoke Rapids
Posted September 9, 2015
Updated September 10, 2015
Roanoke Rapids, N.C. — An arrest of a Roanoke Rapids woman that was caught on camera by a bystander this week has created increased tension between law enforcement officers and the community.
Alvina Michelle Moody, 25, was arrested Monday afternoon at a Dollar General and charged with possession of marijuana, possession with the intent to sell and deliver marijuana, drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest. The video of the arrest was posted on YouTube and Facebook with the caption, "police brutality." As of Wednesday, the video had more than 30,000 views. Viewer warning: The video contains obscene language.
Halifax County Sheriff Wes Tripp said Moody was resisting arrest when a crowd started yelling at Deputy Chris Boden. Boden immediately called for help and asked the people to step away, Tripp said.
"I stand beside my officer," Tripp said. "I back him up. He used no more force than necessary to effect the arrest."
Frances Smith, said she was standing nearby and witnessed the officer grab Moody's arm behind her back. Smith, 53, of Roanoke Rapids, was one of three people arrested for obstructing the officer.
"I was only trying to help a citizen," she said. "She was hollering and he was dragging her to the car. When he dragged her to the car, that's when I ran back and said, 'Sheriff, please stop beating her.'"
Tripp said he believes the incident is an example the intense scrutiny officers are facing.
"Law enforcement officers have to have a thick skin," he said. "When they come to work, they come with a bull’s eye on their chest, and also on their back."
Tripp worries that similar situations could escalate quickly.
"With this national war against police, a deputy sheriff in Texas can't even go gas up his vehicle without getting killed execution style, so it's on the mind of all of our officers," he said, referring to Deputy Darren GoForth, who was shot while filling his patrol car with gas at a station in suburban Houston on Aug. 28.
The YouTube video, along with the video from Boden's body camera, was given to the Halifax County District Attorney for review.
Tripp said his deputies began wearing body cameras in April. Since then, the cameras have cut down on the number of substantiated complaints, he said.